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• Sign up, navigate the interface, and make connections • Make your tweets unique • Use the latest shortcuts and tools • Promote your business or cause with Twitter
Laura Fitton, @pistachio Michael E. Gruen, @gruen Leslie Poston, @leslie
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by Laura Fitton, Michael E. Gruen, and Leslie Poston
Foreword by Jack Dorsey
Inventor, Founder, & Chairman, Twitter
Twitter® For Dummies® 2nd Edition ,
Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc. 111 River Street Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774 www.wiley.com Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana Published simultaneously in Canada No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 646-8600. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, (201) 748-6011, fax (201) 748-6008, or online at http:// www.wiley.com/go/permissions. Trademarks: Wiley, the Wiley Publishing logo, For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo, A Reference for the Rest of Us!, The Dummies Way, Dummies Daily, The Fun and Easy Way, Dummies.com, Making Everything Easier, and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and/ or its affiliates in the United States and other countries, and may not be used without written permission. Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc., is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND THE AUTHOR MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS WORK AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. NO WARRANTY MAY BE CREATED OR EXTENDED BY SALES OR PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS. THE ADVICE AND STRATEGIES CONTAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR EVERY SITUATION. THIS WORK IS SOLD WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PUBLISHER IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. IF PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL PERSON SHOULD BE SOUGHT. NEITHER THE PUBLISHER NOR THE AUTHOR SHALL BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES ARISING HEREFROM. THE FACT THAT AN ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE IS REFERRED TO IN THIS WORK AS A CITATION AND/OR A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF FURTHER INFORMATION DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE AUTHOR OR THE PUBLISHER ENDORSES THE INFORMATION THE ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE MAY PROVIDE OR RECOMMENDATIONS IT MAY MAKE. FURTHER, READERS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT INTERNET WEBSITES LISTED IN THIS WORK MAY HAVE CHANGED OR DISAPPEARED BETWEEN WHEN THIS WORK WAS WRITTEN AND WHEN IT IS READ. FULFILLMENT OF EACH COUPON OFFER IS THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OFFEROR. For general information on our other products and services, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002. For technical support, please visit www.wiley.com/techsupport. Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books. Library of Congress Control Number: 2010930960 ISBN: 978-0-470-76879-2 Manufactured in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
where she is read by thousands of community members. ran a hobby farm. As a speaker and leading authority in social networking. Michael is CEO of a technology company in NYC and the Executive Director of Hamilton Venture Network. In 2006–2007. she has more than 200 ebooks and books in her repertoire and several more in development. races taxis on his road bike through the city streets. the TouchBase Link Blog (stream of Twitter and microsharing articles for businesspeople. a digital and new media services development agency for independent film as well as a long-time consultant to the entertainment industry for new media development and marketing. and CommuNteligence. raised a niece. The Sister Project. In many cases. The first to publish a white paper on “Enterprise Microsharing” (popularly called “Internal Twitter”). Today she lives in Boston with two toddler daughters and a giant Leonberger. .About the Authors Laura Fitton: Laura “@Pistachio” Fitton is leading the charge of sussing out intelligent and productive business uses of emergent technologies like Twitter. Gruen has earned significant respect in the corporate sphere and within the startup community as a trusted advisor since 2003. on the off-hours. She is also the cofounder of Film Pop!. Transplant-1. Gruen: Michael E. she also writes for and runs the TouchBase blog and is an early beta tester of Seesmic and Qik. Pistachio comprises the TouchBase blog (covering business use of microsharing). Ford Motor Corporation. and lived abroad. sailed on a schooner. rock climbed. Michael graduated cum laude from Hamilton College as a Senior Fellow with a BA in Computer Science. He lives in New York City and. Michael E. She relaunched Pistachio Consulting in September 2008 to connect businesses to new ideas and innovations using all the tools of microsharing. traveled.” she studied science writing with Carl Sagan. new media. She practices Ashtanga yoga and plays ice hockey in her “spare” time and is a stroke survivor dedicated to raising awareness. brand and business development. PeopleBrowsr. Laura is a magna cum laude graduate of Cornell University’s eclectic College Scholar program. he has fulfilled the role of interim Chief Operations/Chief Technical Officer with several organizations in need of innovative leadership during crucial developmental periods. Michael briefly joined Morgan Stanley as an Analyst. she is the Founder and CEO of Uptown Uncorked social media and business development consultancy. wherever they are published). Leslie Poston: Leslie Poston is passionate about helping people and businesses find their way to success via technology. In “past lives. and serves clients like Johnson & Johnson. As a writer. Currently.
hiking. Leslie can be found on Twitter. playing piano. supporting local bands. sailing. or working.A firm believer in translating online relationships and successes into the offline world. playing with her Rottweiler. When she isn’t watching or playing sports (especially hockey and UFC/MMA). meeting new people and making connections with the world. Her educational background is in English Literature and Clinical Psychology. PodCamp NH/ME. . skiing. and the nationwide Strong Women in Tech initiative. she has also founded Social Media Breakfast New Hampshire.
just plain thank you. Alex Howard (@digiphile).com — thanks also to Matthew Greeley and the BrightIdea team for use of their Webstorm software) and have helped us target important facts to include in this book. and @mdy. Mary Bednarek. friends. Special thanks to Alexa Scordato (@alexa).brightidea. and to Chris Webb and Ellen Gerstein at Wiley for tirelessly explaining Twitter to their colleagues and introducing Laura to Steve. Steve Hayes. mentors. Jodi Jensen. And a very special thanks to Caroline McCarthy (@caro) for lending an extra hand when we needed it most.Dedication To our Twitter friends. Mark Burstiner. and Jennifer Webb. To our families. this book would not have come together as quickly as it did. Beth Taylor. for allowing us to write this book in the first place. Many thanks to our acquisitions editor. If it were not for our wonderful editors and production team. We’re also grateful to every follower on the @dummies account and everyone who retweeted for and about Twitter For Dummies. and assistance in writing this book. Andy Cummings. or read Pistachio Consulting’s TouchBase blog. Laura Miller. Authors’ Acknowledgments Writing and publishing this book was a team effort. and everyone who has written for. thank you for your support. . commented on. The three of us would like to thank the Twitter community who have shared their ideas on BrightIdea (http://tfd. Elizabeth Kuball. Steven Miller. Laura particularly wants to thank her co-authors. help. Mary Corder. Twitter readers. Thanks to Kelly Ewing.
Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following: Acquisitions and Editorial Project Editor: Beth Taylor Acquisitions Editor: Steve Hayes Copy Editor: Beth Taylor Technical Editor: Zachary Szukala Editorial Manager: Jodi Jensen Sr. outside the U. Christine Williams Proofreader: Shannon Ramsey Indexer: Sharon Shock Special Help Elizabeth Kuball Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies Richard Swadley. please send us your comments through our online registration form located at http://dummies. Ronald Terry. Director of Composition Services . or fax 317-572-4002. Corder. Vice President and Executive Group Publisher Andy Cummings.com. Vice President and Publisher Mary Bednarek.Publisher’s Acknowledgments We’re proud of this book. please contact our Customer Care Department within the U. For other comments.S. at 877-762-2974. Editorial Assistant: Cherie Case Cartoons: Rich Tennant (www. Kelly Kijovsky.the5thwave.custhelp.com) Composition Services Project Coordinator: Patrick Redmond Layout and Graphics: Ashley Chamberlain. Executive Acquisitions Director Mary C. Editorial Director Publishing for Consumer Dummies Diane Graves Steele. at 317-572-3993. Vice President and Publisher Composition Services Debbie Stailey.S.
....................................................................... 105 Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter... xvii Introduction .......................................... 215 Chapter 13: Changing the World................... Twitter World! ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 91 Part III: Twittering in High Gear ...................................................................... 255 Chapter 15: Ten Useful Twitter-Based Services...................................................Contents at a Glance Foreword......................................... 253 Chapter 14: Ten Twitter Tools . 173 Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice ................. 261 Chapter 16: Ten Cool Ways to Use Twitter ...................................................... 140 Characters at a Time ........................................................................................................................................ One Tweet at a Time .............. 61 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter ................................................... 75 Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter ..................................................com ............................................. 1 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? ..................................................................................... 125 Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem ......................................... 175 Chapter 11: Twitter for Business ...... 231 Part V: The Part of Tens ..................................................................... 195 Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter................................ 41 Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best .. 139 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter..... 7 Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts............................................................................................ 269 Index ................................................... 19 Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface .... 265 Glossary ............... 9 Chapter 2: Hello....................................................... 73 Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up ............... 103 Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus ....................................................... 273 ..........................................................
.......................... 4 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter............................................. ...................................... ..................................................... ................................................................... 2 Conventions Used in This Book ........... ................... 31 Customizing Your Profile ..................................... .... ......................... 32 Changing your avatar ........ 4 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? ............. 1 About This Book ...................... 10 How Individuals Use Twitter .. 37 .............................. .............. ......................................................................................................................................................................... ..................... ............................................ ................................................... .............. ................ 17 Chapter 2: Hello..................... 27 Searching by using Twitter Search ..... 19 Picking a Name .............................................................................9 Figuring Out This Twitter Thing ......... 26 Using useful people-finding tools ........ ..19 Signing Up ................................. 140 Characters at a Time ............................................................... 5 Part V: The Part of Tens .............. 29 Inviting Contacts ........ ................. 3 Foolish Assumptions ........ .................... 12 How Organizations Use Twitter .......................... ..................................... ......................... 6 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? .................................................................... 1 New for Second Edition .................. 7 Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts.................................................. 4 Part III: Twittering in High Gear ............Table of Contents Foreword........................................................... 5 Icons Used in This Book .............. 13 Businesses That Use Twitter....................................... ......................................... 34 Changing your background ............................................ 3 What You’re Not to Read ......................................................... ......................................................................... ................... ............................................. xvii Introduction ..................................... 4 How This Book Is Organized .................................. ...................... ................................ . 17 Branching Out with Third-Party Applications ................... ........................... ....................................... 35 Using your background image to expand your profile ............................................................... .................................................................................................. ............. ............... ....................... .............. ................. 24 Finding Contacts .......................................................................... .......................... 15 Tweeting Like a Pro .................................................. .................. 5 Where to Go from Here ............................ ........................................ ............................ 5 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter ................. 2 Motivation .. 14 Getting Your Tweet Wet ................................... 29 Say Hello! Your First Tweets ......... .................................................................................................... Twitter World! .......
............... 84 Retweeting ............... .. ........... 79 Checking out Twitter Lists....... ............................... 52 Seeing Who You Follow ..... ................... 67 Preview: @anywhere .................................................................................. .......................... ........... ....................... ........................... 40 Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface .............. ............ ........................... ...................................... ... 75 Look who’s talking ......................... 82 How to Follow People ......... ............ through Twitter ......... ................................ .............. ................... 44 The Twitter stream .......................... ......... ............. 67 Going Mobile: The Key to Happiness ............. ............ ............... 43 The “What’s Happening?” box............................. 48 Playing (Twitter) Favorites .......... ..................... ............. ............ .................. .......................................................................... ..................................................................................................................... ............................ . 50 Becoming a Renaissance Man via the Everyone Tab (RIP) .. person by person ...................... 80 By following back .. 58 Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best ............... 62 RSS feeds ... ..................... ....... .. 54 Figuring Out Who’s Following You ............................. ........ ..... .......... 41 The sidebar .. .............................. . . .................. ................................................. ............75 Finding People to Follow on Twitter .......... ..................41 Starting Out on the Home Screen . ................... .. ....................... 45 Tweeting to One Specific Person: @Replies ............ ....................... .......... .... 87 ......... ..................... 55 Looking at What You’ve Tweeted .......... 86 Retweeting the old-fashioned way .......................... ................................ .......... 61 Text messages (SMS delivery) .... ............................................... ... .......................................................................................................................xii Twitter For Dummies......... . ....... ...... ... 56 You’ve Been Listed . ............... ...................... ..................... .. .............. .............. ....... ............................................ 46 Shhh! Sending Private Notes via Direct Messages . ........ 39 Selecting your text notifications.. 87 Commentary on the retweet................................. .................. ........................ .........................61 The User Multi-Face: Interacting with Twitter Every Which Way ........................... .............................. .. 76 Searching for people....................................... 65 TwitterFox............. .................. ................ ............... 83 Following People Even More Quickly with Hover.. ....... 73 Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up ....... 78 Inviting people personally...................... ..................................... ............ ............................................ ...... ..................... 77 Using Simple Search ........ .................. ........ ...................... 64 Desktop clients .................... .................. 38 Controlling the text-message flow ........... ......................................... ... 68 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter................................ ........... 66 Widgets and gadgets .. 83 Replying to Tweets ......... ..................... 2nd Edition Adjusting Your Text-Messaging Settings ....... ........................... .......... ........... ...............................................
....... .... ............... ... ............... ............................................. ................................... ............................................. ........................................................................................................ ............................... .............. ....... ................................................................................. 98 Twitter Directories ............. ........ ............................................................... 89 xiii Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter.. 107 Engaging others on Twitter ...............Table of Contents Direct Messaging ...................................................................... and codes may go . .............. ..... .................................................................................... 118 @ – reply ... ....................................................... .......................................... 105 Language and abbreviations ..... ... ................................................................ 121 Whois .. 100 Tweeting in Unison .................... 88 Should I @ or DM? .............. .............................................................................. 120 Stats .. 116 Deciphering Twitter Shorthand Code ........... ................. . .............................. ........................................................................................................... .......................... 116 Your Feeds............................................................................. My Feeds....................................................... .. 108 Tweeting frequency ..... .... .................................................................................... ................................................................. 122 Codes may come......... ............................... 119 Nudge .................................................. 91 Verified Accounts ........... 108 Inserting Links into Your Tweets .. 93 Building Company Relationships with Twitter . ...................... ....................................... ....... ................ 122 Quit and Stop ........................................................................................................................................................................ 119 On/Off ............. ....................... 94 Talking Politics with Actual Politicians .... ............ ......................................................... .......... 121 Leave ................................ 114 Erasing your tracks ............ 89 Encouraging More Followers ... .............. 114 GeoLocation................................... .................. ............ 103 Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus ................................................. 117 D – direct message ......................... 121 Invite ................................... 121 On/Off username ..................................................................... 120 Get ......................... .................................. ......... .................... 112 Following lists........................... 88 Direct-messaging shorthand ............................... 99 Signing Up for Syndicated Material ....... ....................................................... .................................. 118 F – follow .... ............. Everyone’s Feeds........ 119 Fav – favorite a tweet ........................................................................ ......... .................... .................................................. ..................................................... 122 ..................105 Following Twitter Protocol............................ 97 Following Celebrities on Twitter .... ............. 101 Part III: Twittering in High Gear ........ 109 Short-URL analytics ........ ..................... ............................................ ... ...................................... 111 Creating Lists ............. ...................................... ... 110 Using Your Twitter History and Favorites ..................................................................................................................91 Tweeting with Regular People .........................................
.......175 Finding Your Voice.......... 2nd Edition Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter........... 126 Via text messaging ............................................ 183 Measuring influence ...... ................. .....................................139 Finding Interesting Twitter Talk with Search Tools ... 126 Via smartphones or PDAs ............................................................... 168 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter .......... .. ............................................. 163 Twitter Search .. 143 Hashtags........... ......................................... . 151 Keeping Your Tweets Short with URL Shorteners ..................... . 183 Understanding your extended network ..................... ........................................................................... 148 Mobile clients ......... ......... 179 Identifying Your Audience .................. 135 Auto-Tweeting ............................................................. ............................... 128 Using Twitter through Your E-Mail ..... .............. 159 Tag Clouds .... 140 TwitScoop ............................. ............................................ ........ 167 Knowing Your Network with Follower and Following Tools.................................................................... ....................... 181 Viewing your network ................. 162 Google Alerts .........125 Tweeting with Your Cellphone ................................ ..... ................................. 158 Playing with Twitter Games and Memes ...xiv Twitter For Dummies.................................................. ............ ............. 137 Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem ................................................. 181 Diversifying your network .......... ................................................. ....................................................... ............ 173 Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice ........... ........ . ...... ...... ...................... 177 You as you on Twitter ............ ...... ........................... ..... ...................... 127 Location! Location! Location! .... 130 Grabbing RSS feeds ... ............. ................... 156 Using Trending Topics: The Zeitgeist of Twitter .......... ................... ... .................................... .......... 132 Open Authentication – OAuth ..... 161 Keeping in Contact with Visualization and Listening Tools................... ...... 145 Expanding Your Twitter World by Using Clients ......................... .... ........................com ........ .......... ....................................................... 140 Twitter Search ............................ Whether for Business or Pleasure ................................ ............... 147 Desktop clients ............. ............ ................................................. ........................................ 131 Using Third-Party Services ................................. .... ............................... ................. ....................................................... ..... .................... ................................................................... ............................ ............................ ......... 178 Mixing business with pleasure ............................... .................................................................................................. 134 Sharing Tweets All Around the Web .. ............ 182 Targeting specific networks ............................ ................................................................................................................ .............................. ......... . 165 Radian6........ .................. 175 Your business on Twitter ......... 131 Sending RSS feeds back to Twitter .......... 185 ......... 128 Swimming Your Twitter Stream with RSS Feeds ........ ................. .................................. ................. ................. .......................... ........................................................ ..................................... 154 Getting All Your Online Activity in One Place by Using Aggregators.....
.... What If My Employees ...................... ... 213 Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter. .................................................. 188 Being genuine ...... One Tweet at a Time ....................... 211 But....................................... ............................... .................................................................. ......................... .................................. 193 xv Chapter 11: Twitter for Business ... 202 Offering Promotions and Products ........... ................ ..................... ..... ........................ ........... ............................... ............................. .......................... ........................................................ ......... ........ 240 Banding together for creative purposes . 221 Twitter-based events ........................................ 216 Making New Friends .................................. 187 Sharing links ...................................195 The Business of Twitter ...... .................................... ................... .. 212 Sharing Knowledge ............................................ 225 Getting Quick Answers..... ..................................................................................................................................................... 226 Accessing the experts ................. ......... ............. 207 Conducting Research ................. ................... 186 Joining the conversation........................... ........................ ................. 200 Networking on Twitter ........ 234 Natural disasters ............................................ .................... ............................... ..................... 198 Customer service ............ 203 Promoting Bands and Artists .............. ..................................................... ................................... 243 ......... ........................... 229 Sharing Information...... ......................... 222 To Follow or Not to Follow? ............................................. ..................... 191 Protecting personal details ................................. ..... ................................. but Not Too Personal.................................................. ... ........................................... ................................ ............................. ............ .. 220 Searching for topics of interest ............................................ ............ ................................ ............. 232 Politics ......... 196 Public relations .............. 229 Chapter 13: Changing the World.................................. .... ............................ 236 Helping others . .. .............................................. . ............ ........... ........... 210 Going Transparent............................................................215 Using Twitter as a Support System ............................................................ ............ 229 Getting recommendations ........... 228 Information about breaking news ......................... ........... ........................... 192 Maximizing privacy and safety................................... ..................................... .............................................. 237 Organizing People Online and in Real Life .Table of Contents Keeping Your Tweets Authentic .......... 190 Keeping Twitter Personal ... .. .............................................. ............................................ 241 Planning an event......... .............................. . ................................................... 231 Charity events . 206 Building Community..........................................231 Twittering the Globe for Change .......................................................................... ............................................................ 190 Evangelizing your causes .............. 187 Image is everything.................................................. 238 Organizing on a small scale ................... 195 Putting Your Best Face Forward ............................. .............. ............................. ............................................ 215 Connecting with People ....................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................... ....... 204 Sharing Company Updates ..
.. ..................................... 266 Food.................................................................................................................................. 261 StockTwits .......................... 269 Index ........................................................................... ........ 259 Twitterfeed: Getting Your Blog Posts to Twitter .................................................................. .... 262 ExecTweets................................ ............. 2nd Edition Engaging in Citizen Journalism ........ Wine... ...... ............................ ............................................................................................ ............. 253 Chapter 14: Ten Twitter Tools .... ............ 268 Charities and Causes ............................................................. ............. ................................ and Spirits .. 264 Blip................................. 246 Citizen journalism hits the mainstream ............... 263 Link Bunch ........ ................ 262 Tweetworks ............. ... ........ .............xvi Twitter For Dummies............................................... 247 Tweeting accurate info ........... ............................... ................................. .......................... 264 Chapter 16: Ten Cool Ways to Use Twitter .......... ...... .................................................................................... .. 267 Books.................................................................... ................................ ............................................................................................... 266 Travel ......................................................................................................................... . .. 264 TwitterGrader .................................................. 268 Glossary ................................. ............. 265 Breaking News................. ........................................ and TwitterBerry .............................................................. .... 256 CoTweet: Corporate Tweeting .............................. 258 FriendorFollow: Managing Followers and Followings .................261 BreakingNews..................................... ................... 250 Gathering your journalistic tools .. .... .......... 251 Part V: The Part of Tens ..... ............................................ ................ .................... ................ 257 Twellow: Finding People to Follow ................................. .......265 Plain Old Networking .................................................. .... ...................................................... 255 Seesmic Desktop: Managing Multiple Accounts ........................................ 258 TwtVite: Event Planning.................................................................................. .................... 262 TweetGrid ........... 257 Smartphone Clients Twitter.... .................... ................................................................................ 268 Event Planning ...................................................................................................... PocketTwit.......... 273 ........... ....... ...... ................................ ......... ............. ........... ...... ........... ........... .................................. 260 Xpenser: Keeping Track of Your Expenses ................................... .............fm ................. ...... .......... 260 Chapter 15: Ten Useful Twitter-Based Services ............................................................................... 263 Tweetree .................... .........................................255 TweetDeck: Connecting with Many ................................................... 267 Music ......... .. ............ .................... ...................... 267 Education ................ .......... ..................... 246 Being a Twitter journalist ................ 266 Finance ... ................ ... .............. 259 TwitPic and YFrog ......... ......... .. ... ...... ................. 261 Tweecious: Use Delicious to Organize the Links You Tweet ..................
While not everything can be conveyed in under 140 characters. Twitter San Francisco. Twitter is a life’s work built around three tenets: minimize thinking around communication. Although it may seem so. false starts.” I expect you to build something unexpected. start here. Start small. Jack Dorsey Inventor. & Chairman. What’s remarkable about this technology you intend to learn is its ability to immediately expose and evolve the true desires of the commons. What looks like a story of 1 to 3 years actually has a shadow of over 15 years of work. expose trends in local and global circles. and spark interaction. the essence of Twitter can: “Expect the unexpected. What you’re holding in your hands describes an essence of communication upon which millions will build their own value. dumb mistakes. Technologies are often designed to guard against the seemingly errant desires and mistakes of the commons. and patient distillation. Founder. California .Foreword L et’s be honest: You’re not a dummy. Whenever possible. simple technologies like this don’t happen over night. late-night frenetic insight. be the unexpected.
2nd Edition .xviii Twitter For Dummies.
semi-publicly to users whom you approve to receive your messages. representatives. Skeptical of what you can say in 140 characters? The first paragraph of the Introduction weighs in at 41 characters. As a user of Twitter. You may also find. In turn. from the businesses you frequent. from the organizations you care about. We’ve been on Twitter for quite a while. the authors (Laura. over time. you may be surprised about how much value you. and with social movements and initiatives. other users can elect to follow your updates. You can say a lot within very little space.Introduction H ave you heard? All the world’s a-twitter! Twitter is a tool that you can use to send and receive short. that you communicate more effectively and that your writing becomes shorter and more to the point. But Twitter is a living. breathing. and alert authorities to emergencies and illegal activities both domestic and abroad. or from complete strangers who share (or don’t share) your interests. either on the Internet or on your cellphone. you choose whose updates you want to receive — which people you want to follow. called tweets (sometimes called updates). your friends. You can view these messages. from the publications you read. and Leslie). Michael. coordinate rescue efforts in the wake of a natural disaster. or privately from one user to another. About This Book We. and we have a good sense about how people are using it. 140-character messages from your friends. and because it takes only a little time to read and update. and your family can extract from Twitter. Twitter has empowered users to raise money for people in need. This paragraph? 137. but not necessarily the Twitter world at large. with brands and companies. You can send messages publicly for the entire Twitter community. . Twitter has changed and enhanced the way that people communicate with each other. The opinions that we give in this book represent what’s worked for us and our networks. aren’t employees. or shareholders in Twitter.
the basics of Twitter likely will always be the same. and @leslie) for the latest on our thoughts about Twitter.) In addition to feature changes. .com interface. not-for-profits. Lastly. Michael now protects his tweets out of suppressed teenage rebellion and for no otherwise discernable reason. (However. we’ve updated our screenshots and how-to’s to reflect the latest changes in the Twitter. since the first edition. not the be-all and end-all of the Twitter experience. try out. Although the layout and the exact location of everything may change around a bit. or through the #dummies hashtag (if you’re up-to-date on hashtags). you can pretty easily find any feature that may have moved since the publication of this book. Laura still goes by @pistachio.org. Hundreds of these new tools launch every month. so please use our guides as guides. is now known as @leslie. In fact. 2nd Edition and constantly changing dynamic community. its privacy features.2 Twitter For Dummies. the Twitter For Dummies. New for Second Edition In this edition. After you understand how the service works. @gruen. or general direction overnight. do remember that Twitter is an Internet product and is subject to change at any time. previously knows as @geechee_girl. so look out for them in sidebars as you go through the book. and is the Founder and CEO of oneforty (or @oneforty on Twitter). author team has had a few changes: Leslie. Note: While things change. You can also keep up with the Twitter For Dummies community at www. Twitter itself may change its feature set. Twitter has released a number of enhancements to its interface that make it even easier and more accessible to interact with the community. which changes the way that people use it. We reached out to some of the companies. we also included a smattering of new case studies and examples that we thought you’d find relevant in understanding how the world has adjusted to Twitter. 2nd Edition. and benefit from the incredible results and opportunities that can happen on Twitter. and individuals who we feel are using Twitter in innovative and surprising ways. keep in touch with @dummies or our personal accounts (@pistachio. Motivation We wrote this book to help more people understand. Much of Twitter’s value comes from the ecosystem of tools built by others to work together with Twitter.TwitterForDummies.
Major news organizations and companies have adopted Twitter profiles and accounts to interact with their communities 24/7. you can read bulleted lists in any order you like (from top to bottom. mentors. He could certainly use a hug.com).Introduction When we released the first edition. Note: Screenshots in this book show you what the interface was like in spring 2010. and significant changes took place four times during the writing of this book. Twitter has been like a generous ocean. to help others experience the benefits of mobile social networking. along with speaking at events all around the world. so you can easily see it. and surprisingly powerful. Whenever you have to enter text. Twitter’s been changing lives and businesses for years now. Monofont text denotes an e-mail address or Web site URL. feel free not to read anything. she founded OneForty (oneforty. Numbered lists guide you through tasks that you must complete in order. a company dedicated to enhancing users’ Twitter experiences by providing Twitter with its missing App Store. If you’re a business and have already gotten rolling on Twitter. Laura finally took the hint and refocused her entire career on Twitter itself. use this book as a doorstop. We capitalize the names of Twitter pages and features — such as Settings. Treasured new friends. you can probably safely ignore many of the starting chapters and check out Parts III and IV. If you’ve already created an account that has some friends and followers. she was practically homebound with two kids under two. you can probably skip the chapters that talk about how to sign up and get moving — but you might find it useful to review the sections on how to dress up your profile. many considered Twitter a fad. we show it in bold. Twitter can be fun. productive. 3 Conventions Used in This Book In this book. or any other way). we stick to a few conventions to help with readability. supportive. Just ask Laura. What You’re Not to Read We wrote this book for the first-time Twitter users. If you ever run into Michael and he seems a bit agitated when you mention Twitter’s ever-changing interface. it’s because he had to re-shoot screenshots and rewrite descriptions three times each edition. bottom to top. and incredible opportunities continually wash up on her beach. Okay. Before she “got” Twitter. from top to bottom. In 2009. However. trying to rebuild her personal and professional network in a whole new city. After 12 months of meeting incredible people and all her business leads. If you’re a Twitter pro and could have probably written this book. and recycle it when you’re done. we’re kidding — it’ll make a great gift for the Twitter-skeptics in your life! .
) ✓ You have access to a computer and the Internet (and know how to use them!). However. we make the following assumptions: ✓ You’re at least 13 years of age. you will gain a strong understanding of the Twitter landscape.com interface. we’ve organized the book into five parts. from understanding how the Twitter feeds work to getting up and running with an account. is self-contained. How This Book Is Organized Like other For Dummies books. We give you all that information in this part. Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Part I introduces you to the very basics of Twitter. from signing up to tweeting like a pro. and you can read them in any order you want. You can figure out how to find and invite your friends to Twitter and start communicating with them in public and in private. . and. including some things that may not be immediately obvious. 2nd Edition. (You have to be at least 13 years old to have a Twitter account. you probably want to know how to find the sorts of people you want to follow and how you can start communicating with them in a way that makes sense on the medium. ✓ Bonus: You have a smartphone (if you want to use a mobile Twitter application). and we provide a list of many resources that you may find useful in getting Twitter to work best for you. ✓ You have a mobile phone and know how to send text messages (if you want to access Twitter by using your mobile phone). We also look at the different things that you can do with the Twitter. if you read them in order. ✓ You can read. ✓ You have a working e-mail address that you can access. each chapter in Twitter For Dummies. 2nd Edition Foolish Assumptions In this book. Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter After you become familiar with the basics of Twitter.4 Twitter For Dummies.
and how they’ve successfully used Twitter to improve their brands’ transparency and customer relations. expose news. from desktop clients to mobile phone tricks to short-hand commands that can drastically improve the efficiency and information that you can get from Twitter. In these chapters. we provide you with highlights of our ten favorite Twitter tools. remember. and even some other applications that have the same or similar functionality as Twitter that you can check out. businesses. we show how Twitter has started to effect social change and how grassroots efforts by users have helped raise money. we ask you to ask the big questions about why you’d want to use Twitter and what sort of presence you might want to cultivate.Introduction 5 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Part III goes in depth into all the ways that you can interact with the Twitter interface. and other content discovery tools and metrics that you may want to try. Lastly. we go over the icons that we use throughout the book to guide you on your Twitter journey. We also go over third-party solutions. We also provide case studies and examples for how brands and organizational presences have benefited other users on Twitter and themselves. Part V: The Part of Tens The final section is typical of every For Dummies book. search tools. ten favorite ways to use Twitter. The Tip icon points out helpful information that’s likely to improve your Twitter experience. . The Remember icon marks interesting or useful facts that we cover in detail in earlier chapters or something that’s so important that you need to remember it while you’re using Twitter. not-for-profits. In this section. and absorb. Icons Used in This Book Icons in this book point out important tidbits for you to look at. and other organizations can use Twitter. and even elect presidents. We go through the different ways in which people. Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter In Part IV.
Here we point out information that’s interesting but not absolutely necessary to your understanding of the topic at hand. If you’ve been using Twitter for a while and understand where everything is. but you want a better idea of how to use the service. we’re letting you know that you should proceed with caution. head over to Part III. and not-for-profit stories that can help you grow as a Twitter user. With that. personal. If you just want to know the basics. skip it. we’ll see you online! . You may find yourself with a security or privacy concern. rest assured that we’re letting our inner geeks run wild. Whenever you see this icon. Where to Go from Here If you haven’t used Twitter before. If you want all the details you can get. read these paragraphs.6 Twitter For Dummies. If Part III is old hat for you. and 13) goes over some interesting business. Part IV (particularly Chapters 11. When we use this icon. 12. 2nd Edition The Privacy icon denotes that you should be careful about the Twitter activities that we’re discussing. The Warning icon highlights potential danger. mosey on over to Chapter 1 and start reading — we can get you up to speed in no time. where we shift Twitter into high gear.
Part I Twitter? Like Birds Do? .
. Additionally. . In this part. we show you where to find all the basic stuff you need so that you can get started in no time.com doesn’t make obvious why you’d want to use Twitter in the first place.Y In this part . . ou may find getting started with Twitter a bit daunting because Twitter. we cover the basics of why you may want to use Twitter and how to set yourself up with a Twitter profile that you can call your own.
organizations. 140 Characters at a Time In This Chapter ▶ Understanding what Twitter’s all about ▶ Seeing how individuals.” What will you think? Every day.com itself says that The New York Times calls Twitter “one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet.” Time magazine says. It also lets you share what you’re doing with the world — everyone from your family and friends to complete strangers. In this chapter. Y . “Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app.twitter. we see dozens of new ideas and ways to use Twitter.) Harvard Professor Andrew McAfee (@amcafee) describes Twitter this way: “With Twitter.” And www. and organizations you’re interested in — whether you know them personally or not. we do our best to introduce the basic ideas and explain how Twitter works and why it’s so powerful. (You’ll have to bear with us to find out why you would want to do that.” and Newsweek noted that “Suddenly. businesses. it seems as though all the world’s a-twitter. my friends are never far away. Twitter is basically a powerful mobile social network that allows you to keep up with the people.Chapter 1 Sharing Your Thoughts. and businesses use Twitter ▶ Discovering what you can do with Twitter ▶ Looking into third-party Twitter applications ou may have heard of Twitter but have no idea what it actually is.
and responding to one another. each message has its own unique resource locator (URL). But. Not only are twitterers innovating clever forms of one-liners. Twitter is a communications network that combines elements of Short Message Service (SMS or texting). Twitter has one central feature: It lets users instantly post entries of 140 characters or less. Instant messaging also lacks the social network “following” features of Twitter and basic ideas like “publish-subscribe” and one-to-many broadcasting of messages. through the www. your tweets are generally published to the world at large where anyone can read them on Twitter. you can communicate directly with people (through direct messages).10 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figuring Out This Twitter Thing Twitter is a fast-evolving. once you find interesting people and accounts to follow. if you take the time to learn to use that tool correctly. It’s a social network — a digital abstraction that represents who you know and who you’re interested in (whether you know them personally or not) — that you can access from your computer. Like blogging. Twitter has noticed that it acts like a “pulse of the planet. and organizations that you care about. When you think about how millions of people around the world are posting Twitter messages. and blog publishing software. But headlines and very short advertising copy are famously hard to do really well — and the right words can be quite powerful. . Twitter can look like it’s full of noise. (We talk more about the different ways to tweet in Chapters 8 and 9.” a zeitgeist of what everyone is thinking about and doing and feeling. Writing 140-character messages seems trivial. haiku. businesses. and humor. your Twitter stream shifts from a cascade of disjointed chatter to one of the most versatile. such as AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Now that’s pretty interesting! True. but they’re including links — in 23 percent of all tweets by one measure — and links carry a lot more information and context. so that only those you choose can see your tweets). or anywhere with an Internet connection. so each message is actually a Web page.” The idea of Twitter sounds simple — deceptively simple.) On the most basic level. stories. but unlike instant messaging.com (unless you choose a private account. you’re limited to just 140 characters. useful online communications tools yet seen — that is. you can start to see the significance behind Twitter’s appeal. Like instant messaging. surprisingly powerful new way to exchange ideas and information.twitter. quotes. your cellphone. Consider: “Man Lands On Moon. instant-messaging communication tools. known as tweets. following other people’s Twitter streams. In fact. Think you can’t say anything meaningful in 140 characters? Think again. and to stay in touch with people. such as Blogger or WordPress.com site or your cellphone. right now. or by way of the numerous applications that are available for both. Unlike blogging.
No two people or businesses use Twitter in exactly the same way. In tech-speak. and a whole lot more. Twitter is a great way for you or your company to connect with large numbers of people quickly and personally. concepts. erasing barriers and boundaries all the way. A management shakeup led to Twitter and Odeo’s reincorporation under a new company. Shortly after SXSWi 2007. millions of people use Twitter to keep in touch with family and friends. to connect businesses and reach customers. and sound bites. ideas. to launch and expand careers. 140 Characters at a Time 11 In the beginning was the word: The origins of Twitter Twitter connects a wildly diverse array of people from all over the world. Twitter can turn those long articles. Dorsey was the one who came up with the original concept. — Twitter. however. Twitter was spun off once again. and that fact is part of the secret to Twitter’s success. you have to be succinct. Now. and the three subsequently built it as an internal tool for Odeo employees. Already a favorite among Silicon Valley’s geek elite. In other words. Twitter is a microblogging or microsharing tool. they had no idea that it would catch on the way it did. If you’re familiar with blogs. Twitter had its real coming-out party at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSWi) — an annual confab of tech and media innovators in Austin. just like you were having a conversation. And because Twitter is so easily customizable and open-ended. (as long as you mind the terms of service and don’t try to actively do harm) so you get to completely tool it to your own needs. you can start to understand what makes Twitter so unique. questions. But Twitter’s beginnings. and far-reaching connections into easily digestible facts. and Web-based journals. Or. to build a brand. thoughts. Texas — in March 2007 when it was about a year old. Not only did it win the conference’s Web Award honor. At first. You might argue there isn’t really a wrong way to use Twitter. it has continued to become more and more popular with people and companies. you can more easily think of Twitter as a giant cocktail party with dozens of conversations you can join (or start) at any moment. if you prefer a work metaphor. All three were then employed by a San Francisco– based Web company called Odeo. when you have only 140 characters. and shortly thereafter. like so many other digital innovations. lengthy conversations. Inc. Obvious Corp. to report the news. . which specialized in publishing software for podcasting (audio broadcasting over the Web). Biz Stone. Twitter is like the office water cooler where any number of informal (or formal) conversations can take place.. Twitter was built in 2006 by three technology entrepreneurs — Evan Williams. were humble. Some of the media hype has called Twitter nothing short of revolutionary. Twitter was released to the public. but its rapidfire messages became the de facto coordinating and communicating tool for thousands of SXSWi attendees and the company became the digital world’s new darling. becoming its own company separate from Obvious Corp. and Jack Dorsey. The Web offers a lot of information. instant messaging.Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts.
December 4. political debates. and know. someone’s bound to find it informative or interesting. Now everyone who follows you knows about this interesting-looking place. in a way that lets you gradually get to know them more over time. Others just want to be heard. observations on the weather. hints. then it lets you connect with the ones who want to hear from or talk to you about your passions. such as at an event or conference. For more on the social side of Twitter. They may tweet links to great articles or interesting items. which means that you don’t lose your thoughts when you close your browser (or your desktop application). check out Chapter 12. Twitter lets millions of people around the world hear what you have to say. They use Twitter at conferences. ideas. I will Twitter each item as I process it.com/hodgman/status/1039327071) Looking at Twitter for the first time.12 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? How Individuals Use Twitter Tomorrow I begin the archeological dig that is my desk. ✓ To stay in touch: Whole families and groups of long-term friends use Twitter to stay in touch. Twitter seems flooded with disjointed conversations. For example. Even when this information can get pretty obscure. or they may tweet original thoughts. interests. and it stores all sent messages. 2008 (http://twitter. with millions of listeners. many of whom seem like just random strangers. and requests for advice. interactions. if you’re walking down the street and you notice a new restaurant you want to check out when you have more time. Connecting to one another on Twitter is a great way to preserve an initial contact. you might be compelled to ask. — Author and comedian John Hodgman via Twitter. Some tweet notes from speeches or classes. ✓ To share: Some people use Twitter to share what they think. talking?” At first glance. read. People have many reasons for using Twitter: ✓ To connect: Most people start using Twitter to forge connections and be a part of a community. and you have a way of remembering to go back there yourself. You can find news headlines. or just walking around and may even jog their own memories later about something that happened or what they’ve discovered. and others share choice bits of their inner monologue. and tricks. and information. . and ideas. you might tweet about that. The idea of Twitter can be a bit confusing for new twitterers (people who use Twitter). Twitter can send public or private notes to your friends. “But why are all these people. events. ✓ To record: Some people tweet as a way to take notes on life.
com.Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts. plan. Because you can access Twitter by using either a computer or cellphone (or both!). and Twitter’s platform makes it easy. New organizations have also sprung up through Twitter. Plenty of people in the world want to lend a helping hand. or some other big idea. or rescuing James Buck from an Egyptian jail (http://twitter. charitable efforts. it fits into mobile lifestyles and brings you closer to the everyday thoughts of those you’re interested in. too. During the campaign. (Even though election laws mean the account can no longer be updated.) The power of Twitter works for much smaller organizations. (You can search for the subjects that interest you on http://search.com/jamesbuck/statuses/ 786571964). tens of thousands of Twitter users followed Barack Obama at http://twitter.twitter. searching for kidney donors. Groups such as churches and local charities can use Twitter to provide an additional way for members to connect. and involved.) John Mayer (@JohnCMayer) live-tweeted from the GRAMMY Awards. song releases. it has hundreds of thousands of followers at the time of this writing. Enthusiasts of just about any interest have banded together on Twitter. 13 How Organizations Use Twitter Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaign in 2008 was perhaps the best example of an organization using Twitter to solicit donations. Twitter has shone as a tool for social good. far-reaching assistance with a fundraiser. Whether it’s Amber Alerts. fundraisers. fan bases. But Twitter isn’t just for charities. you can find organizations for food and wine lovers. Whether it’s extra hands for a project. Twitter can enable organizations operating on a budget to think on their feet. . Twitter has also been a big help for community efforts. Preachers tweet about their planned sermons.) For example. meaning everyone from your 8-year-old cousin to your 92-year-old great-grandma can figure out how to use Twitter and say hello. and local soup kitchens tweet when they need help. For example. (Even Britney Spears has an official Twitter account: @BritneySpears. and call people to action. 140 Characters at a Time Twitter is pretty easy to actually use.com/ barackobama. youth group directors tweet about events. and their daily lives as celebrities. sharing recipes and swapping restaurant reviews on Twitter. in real time. raise awareness. Musicians working hard to make a name have used Twitter to engage thriving. with a global network of connections. musicians use Twitter to spread the word about concerts. and reach out beyond their immediate community. where campaign staff used the service to provide the thencandidate’s whereabouts on the trail and kick off new donation initiatives. Some people have started their own donation campaigns on Twitter and encouraged other Twitter users to donate and then tweet about it.
com/delloutlet) to promote special deals on returned equipment. ✓ Even a business with no customers on Twitter can take advantage of five off-platform benefits that we talk about in Chapter 11. Laura’s Twitter consulting practice. Coffee retailer Starbucks uses Twitter to connect with customers and spread company culture (http://twitter. businesses large and small can use it. you can’t find a better channel than Twitter to make it known.com/twitter. put out weather alerts. ✓ To poll and pull in feedback.com (http://twitter. ✓ To finely tool a company image. Predictably.com/ jetblue).com/zappos). too. and conduct customer service (http://twitter. started one list of these guides here: http:// pistachioconsulting. But none of these reasons really scratch the surface of why so many people use Twitter.14 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Businesses That Use Twitter If individuals. and nonprofit groups can use Twitter (as we discuss in the preceding sections). ExecTweets (www. ✓ To take advantage of an innovative form of 140-character advertising. Early on.com/featured-articles/industry-guides. ✓ To answer questions. as does online shoe retailer Zappos.com/starbucks).com) shines the spotlight on executives who use Twitter. So why would a business want to establish a presence on Twitter? ✓ To network with customers and see what they’re saying. Discount airline JetBlue uses Twitter to advertise fare specials. For example. . It announced in December 2008 that its Twitter account has generated over a million dollars in revenue. Pistachio Consulting.exectweets. If you’re not sure where to begin. If you have a limited quantity of something to sell in a short amount of time. community groups. you’ll find that your reasons for tweeting multiply over time while Twitter becomes more and more useful to you. You can find dozens of industry-specific blog posts and guides on how to use Twitter most effectively. or even a blend of the two. Each chapter in this book clearly explains why Twitter has caught on like wildfire and how you can join in the fun (and enjoy the business benefits) of this microsharing service. Whether you want to use it for mostly personal or mostly business reasons. Dell now has many more accounts: www.dell. computer manufacturer Dell started a Twitter account (http://twitter. you’ll be glad to know that many professions are comparing notes about the best ways to use Twitter.
and some then stop using Twitter altogether.. 2008 (http://twitter. To that end.com/lancearmstrong/status/1069006436) When you log into Twitter. or various other mundane life updates that don’t spark much conversation.com interface — it’s sort of a road map of the site. or are stuck with just plain old 140-character writer’s block. and your answer can spark so many conversations. Twitter is what you make it. not necessarily about what they were doing. December 20. customize your profile.Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts. If you’re brand-new to Twitter and you’re ready to try it out. the company realized that many of its users were ignoring the former question and instead reported on things more interesting to them. turn to Chapter 11.. Instead of “What’s Happening?”. concerned that they’re not doing it right. whenever and however you feel like it. Twitter’s prompt used to be “What are you doing?” As more people were using Twitter. Feel free to tell us what you’re doing. Twitter is inherently flexible and open-ended. that they’re leaving the office to go home and watch 24. In effect. so you know where everything is. Sometimes. . 140 Characters at a Time For more on putting Twitter to use for your business. You know these Twitter accounts when you see them: The twitterers end up twittering only about what they had for breakfast. — Cyclist Lance Armstrong via Twitter. freezing up out of self-consciousness. Have a burning desire to change careers from accounting to roadie for a rock band? Talk about it! You can probably get a response or two. Chapter 3 fills you in on the Twitter. and adjust your settings. so you don’t need to stick to a rigid set of rules. the Twitter prompt has users stuck in a rut. You can get much more value from Twitter — and have a lot more fun — if you just let yourself relax and talk about what’s on your mind. The beauty of this simple question is that you can answer it in so many different ways. turn to Chapter 2 for information on how to sign up. Passionate about aardvarks? Send out a few tweets with aardvark facts and see who talks back to you. a question appears in large print across the top of the screen: “What’s Happening?” The most basic activity on Twitter is to answer that question. 15 Getting Your Tweet Wet Having breakfast and getting ready to ride. 6 hours today. Many of these Twitter users don’t end up getting involved in the Twitter culture.
123 Main St. Fri 9/3 @ 9 pm www. “Please RT” in the tweet. and an interesting and dynamic flow of ideas and information. Replies work much differently on Facebook. most people leave their tweets open to the public.16 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? How Twitter differs from Facebook “Facebook is closed. and as a result. Twitter is scattered. myband. Instead. “MyBand rocks out Blondie’s. You don’t have to know the people you follow. LA. you might tweet. their replies appear with your update itself.com for tickets”. What all this means is that your tweets can spread like wildfire. Sharing and passing along information is what makes Twitter a sensitive global news detector. The main way in which Twitter differs from Facebook is that with Facebook. more easily. but that’s not very common. 123 Main St. barring an acquisition or failure to execute . and by putting your name after RT. And because of all of that.) On Twitter.” — Brightidea. a powerful tool for social change or marketing. On Twitter. If you want to encourage people to retweet something. you’re by default sharing your updates with the world. . Twitter is open. until eventually it’s not even seen anymore.myband. they might tweet. Twitter has a Retweet link right next to the reply link. Facebook is structured. That RT is shorthand for retweet. which moves farther and farther down in the feed. are preserved on the profiles of the users who initially shared something. and you can get the word out (fast!) about the things you want to share. Twitter is people you never knew. If any of your followers want to spread the word. Fri 9/3 @ 9 pm www. Facebook is people you’ve known. (These replies. and many you might have wanted to forget. the system is much less dynamic. they’re letting their followers know you’re the one who originally posted it (and that you’re the one whose band is playing at Blondie’s). the most recent replies are always at the top of the stream. and your followers don’t have to know you. and farther messages spread on Twitter. you may be wondering how Twitter is any different from the status updates that are part of Facebook.com CEO Matthew Greeley (@brightidea) If you’re a regular Facebook user. people frequently repeat your tweets for their own followers. On Twitter. LA. which means anyone who’s interested in what you’re saying can follow you — and you can choose to follow them back or just ignore them. Twitter will overtake Facebook and become the backbone of the real-time web. which means the conversation continues to be relevant and visited for as long as people are talking. however. It’s commonly called retweeting. On Facebook when people reply to your status update. It’s really striking to see how much faster. . but might have wanted to meet.com for tickets”. You can protect your Twitter updates so that only people you allow can see them. If your band is playing at a club on Friday. “RT @yourname: MyBand rocks out Blondie’s. you can even put something like. To make retweeting even easier. by default you’re broadcasting your status updates to people you’ve allowed to be your friend and view your profile on Facebook. .
a tweet is what you call the 140-character message that you send out onto the Web by using Twitter. the easier it is to write short. In fact. Branching Out with Third-Party Applications At the risk of sounding like a Twitter cheerleader. As you get more accustomed to tweeting. Because Twitter’s communication format encourages brief but engaging ideas. Twitter has had a very open application program interface (API). And it is. Twitter limits the length of tweets to 140 characters (letters. Some Twitter users have reported becoming better salespeople offline. The open nature of the Twitter API has led some people to come up with very interesting uses for Twitter. based on how the world talked about tweeting. Why call it a tweet? It’s convenient. tweet is a term coined by the users. numbers. don’t ask “What can you do with Twitter?” Instead. and spaces). or summarize a movie in so few words? With time. How in the heck are you supposed to say anything in this tiny bit of space? How can you distill your company pitch into 140 characters. you find that squeezing thoughts into 140 characters often makes you refine the point in ways you wouldn’t have thought of before. “What can’t you do with Twitter?” From its inception. . you get used to this length restriction. because Twitter’s mandated brevity forces you to focus your thoughts into concise. like much of the Twitter vocabulary. 140 Characters at a Time 17 Tweeting Like a Pro We’d like to thank you in 140 characters or less. review a book. tying into the whole theme of birds chirping. Also. Twitter sparks conversations faster than almost any other Internet conversation format. sharp. Perhaps one of the coolest things about Twitter is that the more you use it. a length that may seem short at first. symbols.Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts. And we just did! — Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. accepting Twitter’s Web Award honor at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in March 2007 Simply put. rather than the company — evidence of the playful loyalty that avid users have with the Twitter brand. clear tweets. or better writers. it wasn’t until late Winter 2010 that Twitter officially adjusted updates to tweets. ask yourself. direct sound bites. which is the geek-speak term for code that lets external developers and programmers weave the Twitter service and functions into other applications and services on the Web.
Where the name Twitter comes from We want to get this out of the way: Yes. or the all-night gab-fests at junior high sleepovers. and Tweetie. you may want to check out all the neat ways you can use it — for example. (If you haven’t made the connection already. go to www. fundraise. Twitter Inc. Twhirl (http://www.com/tweetie). if you think about it.com. request restaurant reviews. (when Twitter was still owned by Obvious.) . that’s fine. (www. Tweetie 2 became such a dominant player. vying for most popular are TweetDeck (www.18 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? The most popular Twitter applications are downloadable client programs that let you manage and update your Twitter feed from your desktop. a whole lot of Web services have silly names — in an industry peppered with companies that have names such as Meebo and Veoh. Inc. Thousands of tools already exist. give hurricane relief to people in need. find out the weather in your area. seesmic. By the time this reaches print. like FourSquare or Facebook. But to be fair. but people access Twitter dozens of ways. and a whole lot more. the array of third-party applications offers a nice balance of work and play. and it’s something that birds do. read the news. Jack said.twhirl. it should be the company’s official iPhone Twitter client. so simply. If you want to stick with using Twitter just as a status update service.podtech. Some are incredibly useful.tweetdeck. Ev. It calls to mind images of birds chirping. “If you look it up in the dictionary. (We cover these tools in Chapter 9. to track expenses. Because Twitter can do so much. the founders answered a question about where the name came from. To watch a video of the interview in its entirety.) The beauty of Twitter means that any application can be beneficial if Twitter users respond to it. the name Twitter reflects the short bursts of “noise” (or tweets) that Twitter users make when they conduct their digital banter. (Bing and Google are chuckle-worthy too. including (about half of average use) Twitter.net/ home/?s=obvious%2C+twitter.). acquired the company as of April of 2010.” In this case.com).) Co-founder Jack Dorsey has argued from the start that Twitter is a fitting name for the service. On the iPhone. this definition explains why Twitter’s logo is a cartoon bird. a company called Twitter doesn’t stand out as having a particularly odd moniker. and Biz. But if you want to really maximize your use of Twitter. In an early interview with Jack. follow gas prices. atebits. like Co-tweet and HootSuite which help you manage multiple accounts and a lot of information. drive cancer awareness. In fact. many people do. It’s just like chirping. Twitter is a silly name.com).org/). while others help you integrate with other social networks. This diversity of use makes Twitter a vibrant community that you can tap into both for fun and for business. Seesmic (www. it’s actually just [a] short burst of activity.
To sign up for a Twitter account. . follow these steps: 1. yet powerful conversation platform that enables users to broadcast short messages to the world and to connect more closely with people they care about. as shown in Figure 2-1. twitter. beautifying your profile. In this chapter. using the site is just as easy as signing up. Twitter World! In This Chapter ▶ Getting your Twitter party started ▶ Coming up with a good Twitter name ▶ Mixing it up: Making friends and saying hi ▶ Standing out with a unique Twitter profile ▶ Getting SMS tweets on your cellphone (or not) witter is a deceptively simple. Intrigued about why this simplelooking tool is so well-loved and popular? Then this chapter is the place to get your feet wet. signing up is the easiest part of an otherwise complicated process.com. Use your Web browser to navigate to the Twitter Web site at www. With Twitter. It usually takes a while of using Twitter to get what about it could be really interesting and valuable to your life. Twitter is not only easy to use. and getting yourself situated and ready to start tweeting like a pro in no time.Chapter 2 Hello. we go over the very basics of Twitter: getting a username. T Signing Up For many Web services. finding people to communicate with. The Twitter splash page appears. Luckily. but it’s also quick to set up and a piece of cake to get going.
. The signup page appears.20 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? 2. Figure 2-1: The Twitter splash page. Click the large green Sign Up Now button. Figure 2-2: The very short and simple Twitter signup page. as shown in Figure 2-2.
if prompted. Twitter either takes you to a CAPTCHA screen. For more information on this code. Click the Create My Account button. or refreshes the page in case you didn’t fill out any of the fields correctly.Chapter 2: Hello. you’re agreeing to Twitter’s Terms of Service. Twitter World! 3. Those will be indicated with a red marker. Type the CAPTCHA code in the Type the Words Above text box. and a unique e-mail address where Twitter can contact you for notifications. You see a link at the bottom of the page where you can read those Terms of Service if you like. 21 Figure 2-3: Are you human? . Type your desired username and basic information in the appropriate text boxes. it’s because you’re trying to sign up with a user account that’s already taken or that you’ve mistyped your e-mail address.) 4. a password of your choice. This step is a standard Web tactic to prove that you’re a human and not a spam program (see Figure 2-3). (You’ll probably take longer to decide on a username than to actually sign up.com/tos to read them. see the “What’s up with the CAPTCHA?” sidebar later in this chapter.) By clicking the Create My Account button. We cover how to choose a good Twitter name in the following section. or you can go to http:// twitter. (In most cases. 5. The only information Twitter requires from you is a username.
Figure 2-4: The Twitter GettingStarted Wizard. See instructions on how to set up your phone to work with your existing Twitter account later in the chapter. You will not be able to add your phone to your original account until you remove your number from the new account you inadvertently created. You’re taken to your newly created Twitter account (see Figure 2-5). or if you want to get straight to Twitter. You’ll know it when you see it (see Figure 2-4). and to automatically connect with people you know. you can follow the on-screen wizard. It’s magical! . (To find out more about using Twitter on your cellphone.” later in this chapter. click on the Next Step button on the bottom of the screen until you get to the main Twitter screen. Did you know you can register for Twitter entirely by text from any cellphone? Get a friend started while you’re away from a computer — you can create a new Twitter account from any cellphone at any time.com and look for the button labeled Already Using Twitter from Your Phone? Click Here. go to Twitter. Follow the on-screen tutorial to find people you know. check out the section “Adjusting Your Text-Messaging Settings. To jump-start your Twitter experience. Just send an SMS text message with the word “join” to 40404 and follow the directions that are texted back to you to choose a username. do not text “join” to 40404 or you will associate your phone number with a separate new account. If you’d like.22 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? 6. Later. the sign-up process includes a way for you to find people you might want to follow based on category.) If you already have a Twitter account.
There is an audio version of the CAPTCHA on Twitter. is using the Web site. Web applications use CAPTCHA (which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) as a standard defense against spam and automatically generated user accounts. If you’re having trouble reading the CAPTCHA. Computers have a hard time reading text that’s distorted in any way. What’s up with the CAPTCHA? A CAPTCHA is a quick check to make sure that an actual person. you may be a computer. but that’s largely the point. which can easily generate another CAPTCHA for you: Just click the Get Two New Words link to get another CAPTCHA. Twitter uses the popular reCAPTCHA tool. . If you can’t read a CAPTCHA after a few tries. be non-human. You may find the CAPTCHA a bit tricky to read. Sometimes. you may run into a hard-to-read or ambiguous CAPTCHA. please consult your doctor or trusted medical professional. Twitter World! 23 Figure 2-5: A Twitter blank slate.Chapter 2: Hello. rather than a computer program. but it really doesn’t seem to work well. If you think that you may. in fact. but humans can adjust rather quickly.
If users have already claimed those monikers.24 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Picking a Name On Twitter. You may also want your username to match your e-mail address — for example. the @ isn’t part of it. in effect. and it’s not unusual for her to hear. because that’s how you refer to other users on Twitter. are.” That way. The only characters you can use are uppercase and lowercase letters. and if you get really involved in the culture of Twitter. or handle. for many. you may decide to use @doglover1980 as your Twitter name. and the underscore character (_). Crazy. try adding an adjective or descriptor. if you want to say that you’re reading Laura’s book. and it has become the way that many people know her. your username is your identity. “Reading @Pistachio’s book. is @Pistachio. such as @handsomejohn or @johntheterrible. (For example. long gone. Laura’s Twitter name. Pistachio!” from across the street or across the room at a party. it undoubtedly spills over into real life. For example. If you prefer for people not to know who you are. become her nickname. . if your name is John Ira. She’s met thousands of people in real life after initially connecting with them through Twitter. people who follow you on Twitter can easily click over to Laura’s Twitter profile. if your e-mail address is doglover1980@example. we follow the convention of putting an at sign (@) before the name. like you may have when you used instant-message programs or chat rooms in years past. like the rest of the social Web. you may want to pick a Twitter username such as @johnira or @john. you might say. just run a Google search for the word pistachio and you’ll find her Twitter account is one of the very first search results. too!) But when you’re actually choosing a username. in case they want to follow her. The days of choosing anonymous handles such as sexybabe44. “Hey. we recommend doing so. That story emphasizes that you should think about how you want to be perceived both on and off Twitter and how your username fits into that perception. If you want a quick glimpse at the search engine “optimization” (SEO) value of Twitter. Twitter is a far-reaching service. It makes your experience with Twitter much easier when the line between online and offline blurs.com. you can choose a name that’s a bit more generic. You can also use a handle that you’ve established on other Web sites. When we refer to Twitter usernames in this book. @Pistachio has. If you can sign up for Twitter by using your name or a variation of it as your username (assuming somebody else isn’t already using it).
you leave them less room for message content. Businesses should consider using valuable keywords as their Twitter names. that you’ll limit the other users who will be willing to interact with you. (We cover how to customize your profile in the “Customizing Your Profile” section. however. and over the years it has become part of her identity. Remember: Tweets are only 140 characters. But if you do. indescribably ugly shade of Grandma’s favorite ice cream on summer nights at Friendly’s by the rotary in Gloucester. so when people are replying to you. Massachusetts. you want people to respond to you. Using Twitter for your business? You can use your company or business name as your username. choose a username that’s friendly and accessible to the people you want to interact with. On Twitter. Be forewarned! If you choose to use your last name only.Chapter 2: Hello. or your company or product name. she now is @Pistachio. Twitter limits your username to just 15 characters for this very reason. Lean toward using a short Twitter username. (If you want to be risqué. Laura first adopted the color as a company name in 1997. Twitter World! 25 Why @Pistachio? Many people have asked where the username @Pistachio came from. you want to make sure that you don’t mind having your username written on your nametag or shouted out in greeting. . Laura’s first office was painted an unfortunate green color — that precise. or how close to the top of a search results list you appear in a search engine such as Yahoo! or Google. if you have a longer name. if you run into your Twitter pals at networking events or other real-life social situations. Thus.) Your Twitter name has power and influence on search engine optimization (SEO). and you can fill in that business name in the Name text box on the Settings page for your account. you may find that no one can remember your first name. later in this chapter. Simply. go for it – understand. turn to Chapter 5. not be put off by a risqué or otherwise questionable handle.) If you’re looking to be a bit more removed and really would prefer to use a nickname rather than your name. (For more on how to reply to another person on Twitter. be sure to include the names of anyone who handles the company Twitter account in the 160 character “Bio” text box on the Settings page for your Twitter profile.) Likewise. like Michael (@ gruen).
follow these steps: 1. Finding contacts on Twitter can be a lot of fun! The easiest way to find your friends is to import your friends and contacts from other services that you already use (such as Gmail. and Hotmail). AOL.26 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Finding Contacts When you first sign up for Twitter. Figure 2-6: See whether your friends are on Twitter by importing your e-mail address book. in general. 2. Select the e-mail account type from which you want to import on the left-hand side of the screen. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many people you know who are already busy tweeting away. be very cautious about sites that ask you for your e-mail address and password. Having Twitter automatically find your contacts involves entering your e-mail account password. Type your e-mail credentials (username and password) in the Your Email and Email Password text boxes. To import contacts and make them part of your Twitter world during the registration process. you’re prompted to see if your friends are on Twitter (see Figure 2-6). . Although Twitter has established itself as a trustworthy service. Yahoo! Mail.
(For more on inviting people to join Twitter. Repeat these steps for all your other e-mail networks. if you have them. Twitter looks at your contact list from your e-mail account and gives you a list of all the people from your address book who are already on Twitter. Select the people you want to follow. or e-mail address by clicking the Find People link at the top of any Twitter page. Click the blue Find Friends button. However. see “Inviting Contacts.Chapter 2: Hello. 5. . click the Twitter logo on the upper left of the screen.net). helps you find Twitter users by geographic location. If you click the Follow All button. go ahead and share the Twitter love! 6.” later in this chapter. When you follow people on Twitter. You can use a few tools to discover people on Twitter who share your interests or live near you. 27 Using useful people-finding tools Jumping into random conversations is a great way to find like-minded Twitter users. you see their updates on your Twitter Home screen. Twitter World! 3. It’s a great way for people interested in real-life meet-ups. you can always search for people by first name. If you skip this step during the registration process. everyone in your address book will be automatically followed for you. only click the gray Follow button for each person. you can accidentally send an e-mail to everyone in your address book. Alternatively. last name. One of the more interesting tools out there. to contact each other. as well as those in localized industries (such as real estate and car sales) who use Twitter to drum up business.twitter local. but it’s not the only way. if you want to invite all your contacts to join you on Twitter. 4. When you finish selecting people. you can invite them by using the Invite by Email tab along the page navigation. TwitterLocal (www. if you didn’t find all the people in your address book that you would have liked to follow. If you only want to follow some of the people in your address book.) If you’re not careful about where you click.
and are genuine. Part III explores more of these third-party tools. If you talk about your passions. you’ll have no trouble finding people to follow and getting them to follow you back. Users can also claim Twellow profiles for any Twitter usernames that belong to them. Claiming lets you edit the entry to add more categories or remove incorrect categories. To some Twitter users. some call a twitterverse). As a result. . following a few people at a time. yes. talking to them. and link to that page on your Twitter profile so that it directly welcomes curious new people. Twitter people!” Twitter landing page that introduces yourself to people you follow or who may want to follow you. Take a relaxed approach. an account that’s following 500 people with only 1 or 2 people following it back is a warning sign that it may be a spam account — and you don’t want people to think that you’re a spammer. Twitter users are often interested in meeting and talking with new people and want to hear fresh voices. so many of the initial people you follow (who don’t personally know you) may not opt to follow you back immediately. or category.com) is another handy tool for widening the scope of your Twitter universe (which. Twellow (www. Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications (@tdefren) has pointed out that it’s a particularly good idea for businesses to use a Twitter landing page to explain how they are using Twitter and offer ways to opt-out of any connections or communications. Over time. create a friendly “Hello. It takes time and genuine interaction to build relationships on Twitter. but this approach has some potentially negative consequences. If you have a blog or Web site. Twellow is searchable by name. by proving who they are. location.28 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Everything in moderation: Making sure you don’t follow too many people Be cautious when following new people. your numbers swell on their own just because you’re building a network and interacting with it. similar to an online yellow pages for Twitter (hence the name Twellow).twellow. Companies that tweet should definitely mention it on their own website so that it is clear whether or not their account is authentic. you may at first find that you’re following many more people than are following you. You can easily get excited and start following a ton of random people. and your follower/following ratio is skewed heavily to the following side. interact with people in and out of your network. Twellow sorts Twitter users by categories based on keywords found in the Bio sections of their profiles. and giving them time to follow you back before increasing your follower circle.
Chapter 2: Hello. you have the option to invite any of your contacts who aren’t yet using Twitter. 2. (If you’re concerned.) . (Michael cried.) Inviting Contacts During the registration process. Click the blue Invite button. after you import your contacts from your e-mail address book. Twitter allows you to preview that e-mail if you click on the link at the top of this page. and Laura’s been caught referring to Summize in her speeches frequently. An invitation to join Twitter will be sent to the people you selected. paste or type the e-mail addresses of each person you’d like to follow in the box. letting them know that you’re on Twitter and they can follow your updates by signing up for Twitter themselves. and Twitter not only brings you results in chronological order (with the most recent at the top). the people you discover through this search are likely very active Twitter users.com.twitter. Although Twitter officially acquired Summize and has since renamed it Twitter Search. On the Find Accounts and Follow Them screen (see Figure 2-7). You can enter any keyword of your choice into the Twitter Search text box and click the Search button. Twitter Search was originally built by another Web startup called Summize. Twitter World! 29 Searching by using Twitter Search Twitter also has its own search engine. but also lets you know when people have made new tweets that match your search criteria and gives you the option to refresh the search results page. known as Twitter Search. Bonus: Because Twitter Search sorts results based on how recent they are. over the name change. longingly. You can use Twitter Search to find new people on Twitter by typing keywords connected to your interests or profession in the text box. The process is really simple: 1. which had earned special privilege and access to Twitter’s application program interface (API) to create a search engine for the microsharing service. Summize is still known to many (and affectionately referred to) by its original name. which you can access by clicking Search at the bottom of any Twitter page or by going to http://search.
4. like first names. The Follow button is a small. Enter the name or screen name of the person or company you’re looking for. click the Find People link.30 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figure 2-7: Ask your friends to join the party! If you haven’t found friends who you know are on Twitter. Simply click Find People in the toolbar at the top of your Twitter profile to make the input screen for e-mail invitations appear. Click Find on Twitter. 2. 1. A text box appears. On the top navigation bar of any Twitter page. The tabbed navigation loads below the navigation bar. as shown in Figure 2-8. After you enter all the addresses you want. 3. click the Follow button. . If you’re looking for co-author Michael. you can search for them by hand by using the Find on Twitter button. you might just try searching for “Gruen” as some people elect to omit some personal information. If you choose not to do this now. gray square with a silhouette and a plus button on it. you can always go back and do it later.
Say Hello! Your First Tweets The entire premise of Twitter is to answer the question “What’s happening?” in 140 characters or less. So. Type a message in the text box directly below What’s Happening?. Twitter World! 31 Figure 2-8: Follow people by searching for them. the more effective your network becomes. as well. It’s become commonplace for many Twitter users to put Twitter handles on business cards and in e-mail signature lines. These actions are indirect invitations for the people who meet us in real life or interact with us in business to connect with us on Twitter. keeping under the 140-character limit. go ahead! Tell Twitter what’s happening. If you don’t opt to invite people during the registration process. .Chapter 2: Hello. Many people choose this approach when they first join Twitter so that they can keep the invitation process personal. The more people who join you on Twitter. click Update. When you’re done. you can always e-mail people you know whom you think would most enjoy or benefit from Twitter. sending them a link to your Twitter profile and writing a note explaining what Twitter is. Congratulations! You’ve just made your first tweet. or you want to invite people down the road.
(Chapter 9 discusses search tools in depth. This chapter simply tells you how to get your Twitter profile up and running so that it reflects who you are and what you want to get out of Twitter. right now. is other Twitter users’ first impression of you. or really anything at all. “Wait. Twitter. in all likelihood. After you sign up for Twitter. also known as your profile. If you’ve already found your contacts on Twitter. there’s something more interesting going on. but be careful. one of the first things you should do is personalize your profile. people can begin to see what’s going on in your life and what you’re thinking about. and on Google. sometimes even if you delete it almost immediately. “Trying out this Twitter thing” or “Hello there. The conversation starts with those simple exchanges: Talk about your favorite band’s new album.) Customizing Your Profile Your public page on Twitter. what you tweet ends up in Twitter Search and on Bing. Your tweets. they probably respond to you pretty quickly. and all that stuff in Chapter 7. start talking to you about what you’re doing. If your updates are unprotected. your mechanic and how she fixed your car’s catalytic converter. such as. Twitterers following you or searching for keywords in Twitter. If you don’t have any followers yet. don’t worry. I’m reading Twitter For Dummies!”.32 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? If you’re thinking. representing you or your company) ✓ A background image or background color for your Home screen ✓ A bio that’s 160 characters or less ✓ A link to anything else you want to share . that’s it?” That’s right: that’s it. While you start to add more and more tweets. and it can make a big difference in whether they decide to follow you. This situation isn’t life or death. Tweeting is that simple. they’ll come. culture. language. Take a few minutes to dress it up a little! Making sure that it reflects you or your business makes all the difference when it comes to whether people stick around to see what you have to say. Though your first tweet was probably something mundane. Make sure that you have ✓ An avatar (a picture that shows up to the left of your tweets. are publicly visible and searchable. even if you delete them immediately after hitting Update. We discuss suggested Twitter etiquette.
dark blue box appears directly outside the bottom-right of the image. 6. give it an appropriate name (such as twitteravatar). follow these steps: 1. You don’t have to bare your soul. follow these steps: 1. press Ô+Shift+4. The Run dialog box appears. Press Windows+R.gif. 2. . or your digital camera and open the picture. and save it in a place where you can find it later. both Macs and PCs have tools available so that you can quickly put together an avatar without needing third-party photo-editing software. With the picture file open and visible on the screen. A screenshot is pasted into MSPaint. 10. Twitter World! 33 Editing photos for your Twitter avatar Many of the photos that you want to use for your Twitter avatar may include other people. Type mspaint at the prompt and click OK. the Move tool in Paint is selected. 7. A small. Your cursor changes into a crosshair. On your desktop. You’re ready to go! Some of the best profile pages on Twitter are the ones that give you a look into that user’s personality. 2. Or the picture composition may not allow you to get a good head shot. . the Web.png. Thankfully. 5. Choose File➪Save As. and then let go. ready for uploading. or . MSPaint opens. Click outside the selection rectangle to deselect the screenshot. This button may read PRNTSCR or a similar abbreviation. Save the file as a . 4. these tricks show you how to take screenshots (pictures of what appears on your screen). Scroll to the bottom-right corner of the image. Click and drag that tiny blue box toward the upper-left. and the public page is where they can first discover it. As an added bonus. If you use Mac OS X. Drag the screen shot up and to the left to mark the upper-left corner of the picture you want as your avatar.Chapter 2: Hello. On a Windows computer. With the picture file open and visible on the screen. a new file (usually titled something such as Picture 1) appears.jpg. The Save As dialog box appears. Click and drag your cursor over the area that you want to include in your profile picture. Someone who loves to ski might upload an image of his favorite mountain range as the profile background and pair it with an avatar that depicts him in ski goggles. By default. 3. Stop where you want to mark the bottomright corner of the image. Start by finding a picture on your hard drive. 8. 9. but people on Twitter want to know something about you. Press Ctrl+V. press the Print Screen button on your keyboard.
Sign in to Twitter and click Settings in the top-right menu bar. Otherwise. for example. so it’s your official face on Twitter. Your avatar is your face. Click the Browse button and navigate to the picture that you want to upload. . Click the Profile tab (see Figure 2-9). People don’t like following back if your avatar is just the default. and still others change their avatars according to a specific occasion — holiday-themed photos for Christmas or Halloween. 2.gif. 3. don’t panic! Just find a new picture (or adjust the original file) and try uploading it again. Twitter supports the . Choose an image that’s square or close to square. Twitter stretches the picture out. The Settings page opens. and . Show your smiling face and set others at ease! To change your avatar. It’s your choice. some other picture. 4. If you upload a photo and it doesn’t look quite right. or make sure that the part of the image you want featured in your avatar’s thumbnail version is in the center of the image. Try to find a picture that’s at least 73 x 73 pixels. Your picture is uploaded to Twitter. Some Twitter users change their avatars almost daily to different photos of themselves. . The size of your profile image is restricted to 700 kilobytes (which is a rather large image). and Twitter crops it automatically into a square for your public profile.jpg.34 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? After you log into Twitter. Changing your avatar Your avatar is displayed to the left of all your tweets. You can upload a new picture at any time. causing some distortion.png file formats. Currently. you can customize your profile at any time by clicking Settings in the top-right navigation bar. or the default glowing bird silhouette. some users leave their avatars the same all the time. Click the Save button. follow these steps: 1.
Select the Design tab. click the Change . The Settings page opens. 2. You can tile an image (make it repeat. or choose a smaller image that doesn’t cover the entire background (and leaves a solid color behind it). but instead want to use a background image or pattern from your computer. The pre-made Twitter backgrounds appear in square thumbnail images inside the Design tab. like tiles on a floor). 3.Chapter 2: Hello. Twitter World! 35 Figure 2-9: Smile for your Twitter avatar photo. Sign in to Twitter and click Settings in the top-right menu bar. You can even upload an image of your choice (or do both!). follow these steps: 1. If you don’t want a standard Twitter look. Changing your background In addition to changing your avatar. instead of using the default bird. make an image large enough to cover the entire background. To change your background by using Twitter’s tools. you can change the background of your profile page from the default blue to another color. Select a pre-made background or use your own image or pattern.
use your background to reflect your company’s identity — tiling your logo as the background. Then. you can enter those same hexadecimal codes in the appropriate boxes. and FFFFFF is white. TwitterPatterns offers a variety of pattern graphics to choose from. If you mess up before you save your changes. If you’re using Twitter for business purposes.twitterpatterns. When you’re happy with your color scheme. 6. Your background image is almost always overlaid with your Twitter stream. For example. so people usually won’t be able to see the middle of the image. Plenty of places on the Web offer easy-to-understand guides to hexadecimal color codes. you can hunt online for interesting background images on your own and upload them yourself. A note above each square tells you what part of the text or design is affected.adobe. 7. click Save Changes to update your colors. upload a file by clicking the Browse button and finding your image on your computer. If you want only to change your image. 5. Hexadecimal codes are the six-digit codes used in Web site design to assign colors. If you can access the hexadecimal codes on your blog’s color scheme. you can always hit Cancel or navigate away to retain your current color settings. 8.com). Click each of the color swatch squares that you want to change. If you’re feeling adventurous. all of which are sized specifically to fit Twitter profiles. each combination of numbers and letters corresponds to a different shade. you can find free background images at sites such as TwitterPatterns (www. click the Tile Background option. (Optional) To customize your text and links. 4. Check out Adobe’s Kuler (http://kuler. click Save Changes. (Optional) If you want your image to tile. click the Change Design Colors link.36 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Background Image link below the pattern images. or if you’re looking for something simpler or more casual. . If the default themes or images don’t appeal to you. Just make sure that they’re the right shape and size. Figure 2-10 shows an example of JetBlue’s Twitter background. com) if you’re looking for a nice color palette. You may want to make your Twitter page match the color scheme of your blog or Web site. After you finish. 000000 is black. click Save. for example. Their screen width dictates how much of your background they’ll actually see.
don’t worry! Several sites generate free Twitter templates that are designed just for Twitter neophytes in your situation. you can grab a template from BoinBlog (http://boinblog.com). To customize your background image. Twitter World! 37 Figure 2-10: A customized corporate background. If customizing your own background image from scratch isn’t your speed.Chapter 2: Hello. . This idea is a great way to let people know where else they can find you. which offers you a fill-in-the-blanks form to create your own Twitter background. some avid Twitter users take advantage of the background image to add more information or personal links than Twitter allows for in its short Bio section. Using your background image to expand your profile Because Twitter’s user profiles are so limited. but it’s a fast and easy way to create a template for yourself or your company if you’re pressed for time. In many cases.com/2008/07/02/twitter-profilecustomization-photoshop-template). Alternatively. You can also use Microsoft’s PowerPoint.twitbacks. you need to use a custom template application or create your own template from scratch by using a program such as Photoshop or a free image editor such as Gimp or Seashore. You need Photoshop on your computer to open the file. accompanied by more links and ways to connect with that user (see Figure 2-11). a Twitter user includes a short professional biography. One of these sites is TwitBacks (www.
or someone who randomly says the funniest things. on a mobile Web site. The Settings page opens. Sign in to Twitter and click the Settings link in the top-right menu bar of your Twitter home page. though. you have to associate your mobile device with Twitter. Before you can do anything with your new Twitter account on your cellphone. Select the Mobile tab. or by using a client application on your smartphone. your spouse. Like most things about Twitter. Some users.38 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figure 2-11: @Leslie’s extended profile information contained in a background image. as well. follow these steps: 1. 2. You can interact with Twitter on your cellphone via Short Message Service (SMS) text messages. . To associate your cellphone with Twitter. You can opt for tweet notification from your network in several ways. though. Adjusting Your Text-Messaging Settings By using Twitter cellphone notifications. you can keep tabs on your friends. it’s pretty easy to do. are more inventive: They use this feature to keep tabs on their current client roster to try to gauge those clients’ happiness levels before calling them for project updates.
We give you more details on what you can adjust. You can turn on cellphone notifications even more easily if you sign up for Twitter by texting a message to 40404.Chapter 2: Hello. use the Web site to add your phone. A screen appears giving you a code that you need to text to 40404 (brief instructions are provided). On the right side of your Twitter home page. under Device Updates. to say the least — not to mention the fact that your cellphone plan may charge you for each text message you receive. Plenty of avid users of Twitter never even receive SMS updates. (To find out how to turn on cellphone notifications. just turn them off. Send the code to 40404 from your cellphone. receiving text-message updates from all your new Twitter friends is fun. see the preceding section. which (in our opinion) is a very underrated feature. follow these steps: 1. 5. Basically. and how to do it. look at Settings and then the section called Mobile. You always have a choice. others swear by them. 39 Controlling the text-message flow If your account has text-messaging device updates set to On. But when your network grows.) At first. Click the Settings link on the top navigation bar. click the Phone radio button. To set up quiet time. Twitter World! 3. you receive a text message each time someone in your network sends a tweet. If you find the notifications overwhelming or need to stop them for a while. 4. . If you sign up both on the Web site and by using your phone. which we talk about in the following section. To change this. The Settings page opens. But if you’ve already signed up at the Web site. You can also set quiet time. Part of the beauty of Twitter is the many different ways that you can access it. click Save. Enter your cellphone number in the text box and select the check box below it to confirm that you allow Twitter to send messages to your phone. you may find all those tweets a bit noisy. quiet time can ensure that your phone doesn’t wake you up in the middle of the night when tweets come in from the other side of the world. you end up with two accounts that aren’t connected to each other. in Chapter 4 and Chapter 7.
Selecting your text notifications. In the drop-down menus directly below the check box. . you probably don’t want to receive text-message tweets from all of them. Twitter lets you receive texts only from users of your choice so that your phone isn’t vibrating and beeping all day. you’ll see the word Following. what your better half is up to.40 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? 2. If you’d like that person’s tweets to be forwarded to your mobile phone. You can use the mobile tweet delivery for VIP notifications of the people in your life. Select the check box labeled Turn Off Updates During These Hours. Go to your friend’s page who you want to change the mobile tweet delivery option. 4. For example. Michael’s grandfather is on Twitter (@rdgruen) and elects to receive all of Michael’s tweets on his iPhone. 3. follow these steps: 1. 2. To turn off device notifications for some of the people you’re following. much to Michael’s chagrin. Below the person’s avatar and name. If it isn’t. 3. make sure that circle is colored green. 5. or keep tabs on your grandkids. Click Save. Know where your boss is at all times. person by person If you start following hundreds of people. select the times between which you don’t want text messages to come into your phone. we don’t!) Thankfully. click on it! You’ll now receive that person’s tweets on your phone. followed by a small mobile phone icon in a circle. Select the Mobile tab. (You might.
you may want to know where to locate things quickly and manage your communication flow more intelligently. On the Home screen. and direct messages (DMs). showing how it relates to the conversations going on around you and the conversations you’re having directly. (For more on using @replies and DMs. which are private. we dive down into each Twitter page view. we think. The interface makes interacting with other people — some you already know and others you’ll meet — incredibly easy. you go to this screen to touch base with your followers and the people you’re following.” later in this chapter. As you use Twitter more and more. you can also see who’s talking to you directly through @replies. Twitter is one of the simplest and. After you set up your account. In this chapter. most elegant Web sites for mass communication.Chapter 3 Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface In This Chapter ▶ Reading the feed on your Twitter Home screen ▶ Making a Twitter conversation personal by using @replies and direct messages ▶ Marking your Twitter favorites ▶ Viewing who you’re following and who’s following you ▶ Reviewing your past Twitter updates or the power it wields. and it cleanly organizes a lot of information.) . the Home screen is your first stop. F Starting Out on the Home Screen When you first log into Twitter. which are tweets in response to individual users. one-to-one tweets. see the sections “Tweeting to One Specific Person: @Replies” and “Shhh! Sending Private Notes via Direct Messages.
where you’ll spend a lot of time. ✓ Sign Out: Exactly what you think it is — signing out of your Twitter account. update your profile background. The header has a Twitter logo on the left and a list of links on the right. the controls along the top of the Home screen let you change your settings. . ✓ Find People: The people search tool. upload your avatar. and more. ✓ Help: FAQs and support. ✓ Profile: Your Profile page. Those links’ names describe where they take you: ✓ Home: Your Home screen. which appears on all Twitter pages. ✓ Settings: Where you can configure your Twitter account (see Chapter 2). shown in Figure 3-1.42 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Additionally. toggle your SMS notifications. Figure 3-1: The Twitter Home screen. Clicking on the Twitter logo at left also takes you to your Home screen.) The Home screen. (Chapter 2 covers most of these setup features. has a standard layout.
the world according to twitterers) at any given moment. or Bio appear only on your Profile page.) ✓ Trending Topics: Trending Topics shows you the most commonly tweeted words and hashtags at any given time. Except where noted. and services. coworkers. After you create some lists. Location. and other interests. and Favorites. ✓ Your Lists: Lists are timelines you build that consist of friends. visit the company’s blog (http://blog. It’s both a reference for what you’re looking at in the main content area and a controller for the Web site. (We cover lists in depth in Chapter 7. it’s likely taken on a different name or moved to a different location on the interface. Click your avatar. see the section “Playing (Twitter) Favorites. and the lists you’re on (we’ll get into that momentarily) followed by a box that displays definitions of various Twitter related words. When you’re logged in to Twitter and on your Home screen. sports teams. the Profile link. and it’s configured a little differently in each view.com).” later in this chapter. the number of updates you’ve posted. As soon as you save a search to refer to it later. and underneath it you will find your Direct Messages. For up-to-date information about what’s going on with Twitter.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface Twitter is a living Web application. Replies) is called the sidebar. or any @username link for your name to see your Profile page. Web. @pistachio) For more on using favorites. followed by several sections that you can expand to a bigger view or shrink down to a single line by clicking a down or side arrow in a small circle to the right of each heading. ✓ Your searches: Next is the Search text box. ✓ Your stats: Your following and follower counts. this description applies to the sidebar on your Home screen: ✓ Your information: Your avatar picture and username. family. Here’s a breakdown of what’s on the sidebar. twitter. you’ll see only your avatar and username. Profile. Its interface changes from time to time. . Your Name. you can quickly access them right from that sidebar area at anytime you’re logged-in to Twitter. Saved Searches becomes the first of these sections. 43 The sidebar The area on the right side of most Twitter. tools. The Trending Topics view is a surprisingly powerful peek at what is going on in the world (at least. (@username will be your username: for example. ✓ Your communications: @username is a link to your mentions (all the tweets posted by other people that either mention you or are replies to you). so if you can’t find something immediately.com screens (Home.
If it was abbreviated. Click that link and a page dedicated to that tweet — and that tweet alone — opens. replied to. you can now click that link. The Twitter Lists. huh? This seemingly subtle fact is a big part of what makes conversations on Twitter different. you’ve likely gone over the limit. you can click that ellipsis to see your full tweet. the number starts counting into the negatives. if you go over 140 characters. you might notice that it was shortened and an ellipsis (.) You’ve probably noticed a light-gray 140 sitting on top of the upper-right portion of the update box. . that number decreases. so be succinct! As soon as you type a new tweet and click the Update button. .” at http://twitter. you find a box in which you can post your latest update (or tweet). Additionally. If your last tweet was on the long side. If you continually use Twitter’s Web interface to post updates. such as @JamesBuck’s “Arrested” at http://twitter. and archived.com/jamesbuck/statuses/786571964 or @JanisKrum’s “There’s a plane in the Hudson . and Following Boxes can be shown and hidden with the small triangles to the right of the words signifying the start of each section. Cool. If you can’t click the Update button. While you type in your message. (We go over how to update without using Twitter’s update box in Chapter 8. your tweet appears in the area directly below the “What’s Happening?” box and in the Twitter feed below that.44 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? ✓ Following: Following is the last section on the sidebar. . If you replied to anyone or included a link in your tweet. the timestamp saying how long ago you posted that update in fact contains that update’s permalink. ✓ Your community: A grid that shows a number of avatars from the roster of other Twitter users you follow. every single tweet can be uniquely bookmarked. . . Go ahead and give it a try! The “What’s Happening?” box Directly atop the wide left column. Right now.) is at the end of your tweet. and when you get to 9 characters remaining. linked to. When you get to 19 characters remaining. the number turns red. the number turns burgundy. and it shows a grid of the avatar photos of those you follow (or a random sampling of them if you follow more than it can display). you’ll become very well acquainted with that box.com/ jkrums/status/1121915133. you can go online and view famous tweets you may have heard about. Unlike IM or a chat room. Trending Topics. letting you know how many more characters you can type before you go over the limit.
Your twitter followers see that tweet as coming from the user who first said it. lives front and center on your screen. These icons act like function buttons: ✓ Star: Clicking the star button adds that tweet to your Favorites list (which you can get to by clicking Favorites on the sidebar). the Trash Can icon disappears. (Note: If you’re not seeing a Trash Can icon next to your own tweet. Some people who follow thousands of Twitter users call it a river — the tweet stream flows faster the more people you add to your list of friends and the more people you follow. It contains your tweets and the tweets of those you follow in a chronological order. (Note that if the tweet came from a user who protects his or her updates.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface 45 The Twitter stream All the action on Twitter. This is where the conversations happen. a Star and a Trash Can icon) pop up on the right side of the tweet. you make it easier for yourself to find that tweet in the future.) . The stream only “flows” when you refresh your Web browser — it doesn’t automatically display new tweets. if it’s your tweet. Not surprisingly. timeline. odds are Twitter is working on something. this feature will be unavailable. you can find new people to listen to (friends of your friends and connections) and a place to jump in and participate. which you can read about in Chapters 4 and 8). If you hover your cursor over the box. By reading your stream. Words like stream and flow most likely derive from the more dynamic moving displays on many third-party Twitter clients. it’s your home base for connecting with people and businesses on Twitter. or sometimes feed (not to be confused with RSS feeds. When you mark something as a favorite. You have to “RT” that tweet the old-fashioned way. appropriately. Each tweet appears in its own little rectangular box. described later in the book. ✓ Trash Can / Delete: This icon appears next to only your own tweets. a Star and an Arrow icon (or. ✓ Arrow: Clicking the arrow sets up the tweet entry field so that you can reply to that user with an @reply. clicking it lets you delete the tweet from the feed. with the most recent tweets at the top. Occasionally. This stream of Twitter updates doesn’t have an official Twittersanctioned name. This update stream goes by several names including stream. along with a note along the bottom of the tweet mentioning that the retweet came from you. and you have to wait to delete a tweet — all the more reason to make sure that you don’t tweet anything you don’t mean to tweet!) ✓ Retweet: You can forward the tweet you’re reading to your Twitter followers by clicking the retweet button.
Then type your message and click Update. @replies is a tweet that. is directed specifically to one Twitter user. which you can then click to reply to that tweet. although public and visible to all Twitter users. especially when you’re responding to people who are frequent Twitter users and may have already put out more tweets since the one you’re replying to — it lets them see specifically what you’re responding to. Twitter has ramped it up by automatically detecting when an @ symbol is placed directly in front of a word (with no space in between) and adds a link to the Twitter user who has that word as his or her handle. the Arrow icon appears. @replies can also help you find new people to add to your network when you see one of your contacts conversing with someone you don’t know and decide to check that person out. Some heavy users don’t like this setup because it can get cluttered fast if you’re lucky enough to get mentioned a lot. Twitter then associates your reply with the original tweet in the Twitter system. The person can see what tweet prompted your reply by clicking the In Reply To link at the bottom of your tweet to him or her. If you hover your cursor over the tweet that you want to respond to. effectively. (See Chapter 5 for more on replying. that user can view those tweets in the @replies link. so we use that here. and the Tweet button becomes. You can send an @reply to someone by just typing the @ symbol and. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your Twitter Mentions page (like the one shown in Figure 3-2). it gets collected here. So. without a space. Even though the page is now considered the Mentions page. This In Reply To link is helpful. most Twitterers still call them @-replies or @-mentions. Clicking the Arrow icon makes the user’s Twitter handle appear in the “What’s Happening?” window. and the words “What’s Happening?” change to “Reply to” followed by the username of the person you’re replying to.) .46 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Tweeting to One Specific Person: @Replies The little Arrow icon on the Home screen that appears when you hover your mouse over a Tweet is the force behind one of Twitter’s most powerful conversational features: @replies. which you can open by clicking the @username link (with your own username) in the sidebar: ✓ Send @replies anytime. @leslie). More than just a way to direct a tweet to one person. anytime your @username appears in a tweet. a Reply button. his or her username (for example. For every publicly-viewable tweet that includes a user’s handle. Taking its format from a syntax used in text chat rooms.
Because of the recent shift to collecting mentions on the @username tab. where your ego can get a boost — or not. it’s interesting to note that the preceding settings apply only to tweets that begin with an @username. This may be exactly the case — @replies actually do initiate a conversation as much as they act as actual replies. If you just do your reply manually (as opposed to clicking the Reply icon on a specific tweet that you want to reply to). . not those where the @username appears anywhere else in the tweet. try the last option: Seeing what your friends and followers are talking about with other Twitter users can help you get more value out of the service and is one of the very best ways to discover new people to add to your network by jumping into conversations. But if you really want to reply to a specific tweet. ✓ Read (or don’t read) other people’s @replies. your reply won’t be linked to any particular tweet. you’re usually better off clicking the Reply icon.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface 47 Figure 3-2: The @ mentions screen. In the Notices tab on the Settings page. you can opt to • Not display any @replies • Display only @replies directed at other Twitter users in your network • View all @replies from your contacts If you don’t really care which @replies you see. Some more conservative Twitter users prefer not to read @replies that don’t concern them.
you bring new people into your own stream. You can get to the Profile page by either clicking that person’s @username anywhere that you see it or by typing the username into the URL bar on your Web browser after Twitter. other people can always read your @replies. he does not follow you. You can send a DM only to a Twitter user who’s following you (but you don’t have to be following that user). Twitter adjusted the way that @replies work: Say you are following Bill and Christy. The easiest way to see whether someone is following you and to send them a direct message while you’re there is to simply go to that person’s Profile page. if Christy did follow Bill. You just have to click the Twitter handle that your friend is @replying to and throw in your two cents. If the only action visible is to block the person. If you see that one friend or colleague on Twitter has responded to someone in his or her network who wants to know where to get the best pizza in Boston. unlike text that you send in an instant message program. If you have something private that you need to tell someone.com (http://twitter. which is designed to prevent spamming and other unwanted messages by ensuring that people get direct messages only from people they actually want to follow. all of your followers would see that reply in their tweet streams. the only person who can see a DM is the recipient. However. Shhh! Sending Private Notes via Direct Messages Direct messages (DMs) let you send your contacts private notes through Twitter. but Christy isn’t following Bill. Just like regular tweets and @replies. If you send an @reply to Bill. some time ago. the direct message (which we talk about in the following section). However. she would see that reply in her stream. .48 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? ✓ Join a conversation. and you have a recommendation. that reply won’t show up in Christy’s feed. you can share it. which you may be used to. So. Look for the Message link in the right sidebar under Actions. By starting conversations with friends of your friends. and they’ll be stored by search engines. Then follow these steps: 1. they’re limited to 140 characters. and you can’t DM him.com/ username). Keep in mind that @replies are public tweets. Twitter does this to protect against disjointed conversations so some of the more vocal and @replying twitterers don’t overly flood their follower’s feeds. In Twitter’s early days. use another feature of Twitter. anytime you sent an @reply to someone. Unlike regular tweets and @replies.
which shows all the direct messages you’ve received over the course of your time using Twitter • The Sent tab. The Direct Messages page opens (as shown in Figure 3-3). You can also send a DM using the main Direct Messages interface: 1. 49 Figure 3-3: The Direct Messages panel. If you’re not on the Direct Messages page on Twitter. which lets you have private Twitter conversations.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface 2. you can find a drop-down menu from which you select the recipient of your DM. . displaying • The Inbox tab. 3. which shows you all the DMs that you’ve sent • A tweet input box that’s specifically for DMs Above the text field. That menu lists only the Twitter users who are following you and hence can receive DMs from you. Compose your direct message in this box and then click Send. Click the Message link. click the Direct Messages tab on the sidebar of any Twitter page. The screen changes to a single text box over the user’s Twitter background that is labeled Send Username a Message. Write and send your message.
After recent Twitter changes. if you want to send a direct message to our Dummies account (@dummies) to ask when the next edition of Twitter For Dummies is coming out. which is a great solution. .) Laura has actually had people get sort of mad at her about this. it appears on your Favorites page (see Figure 3-4). ✓ Acknowledge that it helped you or that you found it amusing. Double-check. third-party apps. Note: If a lot of people follow you. The only problem is that when a name doesn’t appear in your Direct Message drop-down list. the list now appears to show you the list of people you’ve most recently been DMing with.50 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? 2. 4. The Direct Message interface can even mistakenly return an error message saying that a given person doesn’t follow you. Click Send to send the message. your drop-down menu doesn’t contain every single follower’s name. ✓ Remember it so that you can reference it in a blog post or article. When you mark a tweet as a favorite. You may want to mark a tweet as a favorite to: ✓ Save it for later. ✓ Save it to quote later. Select a name from the drop-down menu. (These steps are described in the preceding list. 3. and twitterers often overlook it. you may assume that it’s because the person no longer follows you. just to be sure. Playing (Twitter) Favorites One of the icons that appear when you hover your mouse over a particular tweet is the Favorites star. but proceed with caution! Many Twitter users have embarrassing tales of DMs that they accidentally sent as public tweets because they formatted the tweet incorrectly or sent it from the Twitter Home screen instead of from the user’s Profile page (best bet) or the Direct Messages page. Type a message in the Send a Direct Message box. ✓ Mark it so that you can reply to it later. For example. The only reliable way to see whether someone follows you back or not is to visit that person’s Profile page. or the main Twitter interface — by entering d [username] and then typing your tweet. It’s basically Twitter’s equivalent of a bookmarking tool. You can send DMs from any regular Twitter input source — text messages. It’s just not true. which is ironic because she goes really far out of her way (following everyone back) to make sure that any reader can send her a DM. you format the DM as d dummies When’s the next edition coming out? Sending DMs is easy.
Our point is. drawing upon Twitter search results for keywords related to innovation. and you’re not yet following the person who posted that tweet. If your best friend marked a particular tweet as a favorite. . you’ll soon have a large collection of tweets that you can gather data from for various projects or reference when you need to remember a particular joke or comment. Use Favorites whichever way works best for you! If you start using the Favorites icon on a regular basis. Ari Herzog (@ariherzog) pointed out that favorites are an untapped opportunity to collect testimonials and other tweets that might have value for your company. don’t limit yourself to using Favorites only as literal favorites. One way to find more people on Twitter is to visit the Profile pages of your friends on Twitter and look at their Favorites. to see which tweets they liked the most. Innovation software company Brightidea (@brightidea) uses it to curate a great collection of tweets about innovation.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface 51 Figure 3-4: Your favorite tweets are stored forever. You can also use it for bookmarking links so that you can visit it later — many of your best links and referrals will come from your fellow Twitter users. you may want to start following that person.
com). Indexing your favorite tweets takes a bit of hacking: 1. 2. Add that URL to your favorite bookmarking service.com/#search?q=Search — thanks @krystyna81 for this tip!) So although the true Public Timeline is gone.com/public_timeline) still works for now. As we go to press. After you have a system in place for keeping track of tweets that you want to save by using the favorite feature. and that it became ever more so during the meteoric growth leading up to our publication deadline. Becoming a Renaissance Man via the Everyone Tab (RIP) The Everyone tab used to lead to Twitter’s Public Timeline.52 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Searching favorite tweets At the time we write this book. Twitter doesn’t yet offer a way to search within your list of favorite tweets and hasn’t announced any plans to do so. which contained all tweets from all twitterers everywhere.diigo. Some people use a spreadsheet in a desktop program such as Microsoft Excel or a Webbased one such as Google Docs. find the tweet in your Twitter stream and click the small link below it that shows the time the tweet was sent. you can then find them whenever you need them. 3. you can peek at the Public Timeline in two ways. using bookmarking services such as Delicious (www. That link loads the tweet on its very own page. While your list grows. . neither of which appears anywhere in Twitter’s interface. Rumor has it that you can also still access the timeline by running a search with no terms in the search box (http://twitter.delicious. you may want to find some way to catalog your tweets. Follow the directions that your bookmarking service offers for how to add a URL.com) or Diigo (www. for old time’s sake. To get to a tweet’s permalink. tag the link so that you can search by topic later to find it again. The original link (http:// twitter. Some keep a record of their favorite tweets’ permalinks (permanent link URL) pages and tag them by topic. It’s no big surprise that the Public Timeline was always pretty crowded and random. we left this section in the book for you to play with and think about. If the option is available. which you can bookmark for later because that page has a standard Web URL that always leads to that specific tweet.
and generally expanding your presence on Twitter. You can also send an @reply to the tweet. It looks a lot like your own Twitter stream on your Home screen. people you don’t follow. but with more content to discover. even if you don’t yet follow any of the people in it. if you like what you see. which lets you just jump into the conversation. and people who don’t follow you. (Refresh your Web browser to see the latest tweets. spend a little time either scrolling from page to page and tweet to tweet manually or skimming for interesting conversations. . If you can get to the Public Timeline through the preceding links. in real time (like the page shown in Figure 3-5). it shows the most recent tweets from everyone who uses Twitter.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface The timeline includes all Twitter users who haven’t opted to protect their updates: people you follow. which keeps their Twitter experience the most varied and interesting it can be. you can follow someone without replying to them — follow whoever looks interesting to you! You can check in on the Public Timeline periodically. finding new conversations and topics. Even people who have thousands in their personal Twitter network can find fresh ideas and interesting people on the Public Timeline once in a while. even after you start to grow your network into the triple digits and higher. After you get to the Everyone timeline. just click that Twitter handle to find out more about that user. Or. You can use the timeline to broaden your network. 53 Figure 3-5: Looking at the Everyone timeline on Twitter.) If you find an interesting person or conversation.
54 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Seeing Who You Follow After you start using Twitter to its full potential. with the most recent at the top. which you can click to follow him. Scroll through the list manually. you find the sets of numbers in the upper-right sidebar labeled Following. On any page in Twitter. you’ll see “Following. Figure 3-6: Check out the twitterers whom you’re following. This process works fine until you start to follow many more people. 3. To see whom you follow: 1. Log in to Twitter. page by page. 2. Currently.” If you’re not following him. If you’re following him. hint. under his avatar. Without a way to sort or search — which Twitter still doesn’t have (hint. Twitter!) — finding out if you follow someone specifically can become tedious after you start following more than 100 people. If you have a particular user in mind and you’re not sure if you’re following him. you may want to see a list of whom you follow. you’ll see a Follow button. . Followers. Twitter sorts your Following list chronologically by when you started following them. go that person’s Twitter page. A list of people you’re following appears (as shown in Figure 3-6). and Updates. Click Following.
If you don’t want to have to constantly use a site such as FriendorFollow to keep up with your followers. and Updates. or you’re just curious who’s reading your tweets. Be sure to check for the Action message on her actual Profile page when you do so. You can pull up the list of your followers on any Twitter page. Then you have to decide whether you want to try to get that user’s attention in another way. The e-mail notification authorizes Twitter to send you an e-mail alerting you about each new follower. you have to click through the Followers list page by page. you’re able to send that direct message.com). such as TwitterKarma (http:// dossy. If you hover over the button. Click that. using third-party applications built on Twitter’s API. Similar to the Following link (which we talk about in the preceding section). and click Followers. Find the sets of numbers in the upper-right sidebar labeled Following. . which is considerably easier than scrolling through your followers page by page.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface For a more consolidated view of your users. you probably want to find another method for figuring out whom you follow. Followers. 55 Figuring Out Who’s Following You You may also want to see who’s following you on Twitter — maybe you want to find new people to follow. If that user isn’t following you. that can show you both who you’re following and who’s following you. click the second button in the gray box just below the You Follow notification at the top of the page. it brings up a list of people who are following you. Then. you get a User Does Not Follow You error message (as shown in Figure 3-7).org/twitter/karma) and FriendorFollow (http://friendor follow. Just like the Following list. ✓ Try to send a user who may be following you a direct message. it will say List. and your followings list will be much more manageable. Chapter 9 suggests some tools. check the Email When Someone Starts Following Me check box. and click Save. as the Direct Messages interface has been buggy in the past. which we cover in Chapter 9. Twitter sorts the list with the people who’ve started following you the most recently at the top. Click the Notices tab. you have several options: ✓ Turn on e-mail notifications in the Settings area. If she is following you. you can just click a link in the e-mail to that user’s profile and see right away whether you want to follow them back. After you break the 100-following mark. You can figure out whom you follow in a few ways.
If you’re looking for a specific tweet. in addition to displaying your short bio and profile information. The first place to check is your own profile: Click the Profile link in the top-right corner navigation bar (or just click your avatar) to open your Profile page.twitter. Looking at What You’ve Tweeted You can see what you’ve tweeted in the past in a variety of ways. your profile is a publicly accessible URL. Figure 3-8 shows a Twitter Search results page. Also. you might want to include the @ — plus a keyword from the tweet. Do a search for your username — if it’s a common name. . Your Profile page. displays a feed of all your public tweets in chronological order. you can first look for it by using Twitter’s search page (http://search.56 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figure 3-7: A notification of a direct message failure. navigate to http://twitter.com). If your username is @dummies. The tweet you’re looking for is most likely in the search results. Just like the pages showing your followers and who you follow (which you can read about in the preceding sections).com/dummies to jump directly to your Profile page. you can keep clicking the More button on the bottom of the page to see older posts.
searching by using Twitter Search doesn’t work because the tweets aren’t indexed in the search engine. you see a list of links to “trending topics. or another search engine. Google. You can also search for specific tweets by using Bing.” If a new movie is coming out. in addition to the tweets themselves. Tracking trends If you’re interested in searching for more than just what you’ve tweeted about yourself. It’s a small price to pay for privacy. Bing and Google actually purchase data from Twitter.com. Go to http://search. If you protect your updates. .twitter. or a major news event is happening somewhere in the world. you’re likely to see it as a trending topic. you can see what the rest of the world is tweeting about on Twitter’s Search page and in the new Trending Topics part of the Home screen sidebar.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface 57 Figure 3-8: Twitter Search results.com and offer advanced search terms so that you can really focus the search. Additionally. both Google’s and Bing’s search interface makes it possible to see who else is talking about your tweets. or the World Series is on TV. Sometimes the trending topics can introduce you to topics of conversation you didn’t even know about. and below the Search button.
You’ve Been Listed Santa’s not the only one who gets to check things twice these days. Twitter users also get to make Lists of people. or your child to stumble across later on the Internet while searching for something else.” A Ketchum PR executive famously upset his client — FedEx — when he tweeted a snide remark about Memphis on landing there for his meeting with them.58 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Google and Bing do such a good job of indexing Twitter that it remains (at this writing) the best way to find out whether someone is on Twitter or not. If you imagine that someone whose opinion you value is looking at what you write. You can delete your tweets on Twitter by clicking the Trash Can icon. you can sometimes forget that it isn’t a private room. though — unless @DarthVader actually does exist. you need to be cautious: if you’re tweeting as ‘you’. Ooops! Remember the context you’re tweeting in (he was on a client visit) and also remember that people may assume that you’re talking about them when you’re not. On the other hand. So. this indexing is good for your visibility online. and that it isn’t an “inner monologue. and adds that on to your Twitter profile in the upper-right corner. you must have done something right for them to have listed you! . and because of its conversational nature. have already indexed those tweets.com or Google. as well as Twitter’s own search tool.com. Also take great care with names. Twitter identifies you as Listed. you can avoid getting in any trouble. and usually you can find out right away whether a person is a tweeter. Twitter is so easy to use that it’s equally easy to slip up. Bear in mind that very famous people who appear to be tweeting may be fan pages or other hoaxes. we advise not saying anything on Twitter that you wouldn’t want your mom. those search engines can bring more people to your Twitter profile. Because Bing and other search engines index your tweets. which can then possibly bring those people to your Web site. it is kind of like being followed in that a user has identified you as a person to follow. You may have met that person at an event. run a search for Firstname Lastname Twitter. You also may not be thinking today about what may be findable weeks. You may have gone to school with that person. be very afraid! Your public tweets are indexed by search engines. In any case. Someone may have listed you for a few reasons. instead of getting a new follower. At Bing. sometimes tweets are forever. months. When you’re added to a List. On one hand. in which case. and they think you have entertaining tweets. your boss. But. as tweets about a person may actually show up closer to the top of search results than mentions of her name on other types of Web sites. and years from now. Bing and other search engines. but if you don’t do it within a few seconds.
59 Figure 3-9: Where you’ve been listed. click the Listed button on the upper-right. The list names are structured in a neat way: they are written as the user who made the list.com/dummies/authors. We go into Lists a bit more in Chapters 5 and 7. What’s particularly neat about this is that if you click on the list name or visit http://twitter. the list @dummies/authors means that the user @dummies created a list called authors. and they can be pretty powerful tools to help you manage your Twitter experience. followed by a slash. you’ll see the stream of tweets written by the people in that list. Lists add a little bit of complexity and subtlety to the Twitter experience. So. followed by the name of the list itself (see Figure 3-9). .Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface To see who’s listed you (and what list you’ve been put on).
60 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? .
a huge array of ways to interact with Twitter at your convenience and on your terms. and followers with updates on what’s going on in your life. text messaging. or any number of third-party services built by using Twitter’s application program interface (API). Don’t worry. and we also give you some pointers for maximizing the application. life occurs in a lot of places. . as an individual. and in short. because Twitter’s got you covered. This is a big reason for Twitter’s popularity. In this chapter. though. we go over all the ways that you. not just on the computer. T The User Multi-Face: Interacting with Twitter Every Which Way If you want to get the most out of Twitter. Some people use the Twitter Web site or the Twitter Mobile Web site. you need to figure out how you prefer to access the service. may want to use Twitter. based on your needs. as you’ve probably noticed.Chapter 4 Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best In This Chapter ▶ Getting with the Twitter program ▶ Considering third-party interfaces ▶ Using Twitter everywhere witter’s a great tool for providing friends. browser plug-ins. gadgets. You can use widgets. family. The folks at Twitter have designed their application so that you can use it in multiple ways. But.
mobility. It’s simple. or just want to share Twitter on an external Web site or blog.com and using the basic Web interface. You can find plenty of options out there for doing all this and more. First. and roughly half of all twitterers (probably more now with Twitter’s extraordinary recent growth) use Twitter. which is just one of the ways you can use Twitter. you probably started by logging into Twitter. The Settings page opens. or you just want more bells and whistles? Some Twitter users prefer not to access the service through a browser window. Text messages (SMS delivery) You can fairly simply opt into receiving Twitter via text messages (SMS delivery). . Click the Settings link at the top-right of your Twitter Home screen.com to access the service.62 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Like most users. and convenient: Most of what you need is right there in the sidebar or in the top toolbar. need a few more organizational options than the Web page affords. you have to set up a mobile device so that Twitter knows where to send your tweets: 1. shown in Figure 4-1. Figure 4-1: The Web interface. But what happens if you need more functionality. versatility. to manage your Twitter stream and communicate with your contacts. no-frills.
you’ll see toggle buttons next to each person on your following list. and send direct messages. 7. but your carrier might! Laura has unlimited texting even though she doesn’t receive any text updates from Twitter. If you’re enabling device updates.twitter. You’re given an alphabetical code and instructed to text this code from your phone to 40404. Twitter doesn’t charge for texts. To check and see whether any given individual is set to device updates ON or OFF: 63 . send tweets. while you’re usually sleeping or at work). Make sure that your cellphone carrier has an unlimited text-messaging plan — or that you’re willing to pay for a lot of extra texts — before setting Twitter device notifications to On. 8. Send the code from your phone as a text message to 40404. off. check the box granting Twitter permission to send you a text message.com/ friends) to view a list of the people you follow. 5. In the Device Updates drop-down list. 4. Choose whose device updates you want to see. You’ll receive a text message from Twitter confirming that your device has been verified and SMS alerts have been enabled. Refresh the page until you see your cellphone number listed. 6. (Optional) Select a sleep period when you prefer not to receive updates and click Save. Click Save when you’re done. Then click Save. select On if you want to receive tweets as text messages on your phone or direct messages if you would like to receive only your direct messages. or direct messages only. but you don’t want them coming in 24 hours a day. you can choose to have text-message notifications on. under the heading Sleep. select the Turn Off Updates During These Hours check box and select the hours during which you don’t want to receive updates on your phone. Now. You can also opt to have them turned off during a specific time (say. Click Home and then click Following (or just go to www. and click the Save button. When device updates are on for your account. You have to manually turn these device updates on for each individual. You don’t automatically receive device updates from everyone you follow on Twitter. Enter your mobile phone number in the text field. 3.Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best 2. because she loves to use the text commands to add people. Turn on SMS device updates for your Twitter account and then click Save. Click the Mobile tab.
64 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? 1.google. From there. You can access a user’s profile by clicking the user’s @username in one of his tweets. but we recommend Google Reader (http:// reader. you can also control this setting using SMS on your phone. If you turn device updates off. It’s listed underneath the person’s username. or one for the people whom you follow. and the feed shows up in your feed reader. for example) whose tweets you want sent to your phone. enable all device updates on your phone. Go to that user’s profile on Twitter. After you get your RSS feed reader set up. one for your DMs (direct messages). iGoogle. You can choose from many feed readers out there. go to the user’s profile page (twitter. click it. First. RSS feeds You can receive updates from Twitter via an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. Then come back to Twitter and set up your RSS feeds. you can always go to the list of people you’re following by clicking Following (see Chapter 3 for more instructions) to find that information. Send an on username message to turn Device updates on and off username to turn them off.com. You already have one of these accounts if you use Gmail.com). much like you would for any blog or news Web site that you follow. Follow Google’s pretty easy instructions to get started with Google Reader. but the information is still there and will reappear when device updates are turned back on for your account. Then on Twitter. You don’t have to know much about technology to get one of these and set it up. 3. Turn an individual’s device updates on or off. Of course. . The green check and ON means that you will. you just have to look for the feed symbol in your browser’s URL entry field (see Figure 4-2). What can you see with a Twitter RSS feed? You can set up a feed for your @replies so you never miss a message. or other Google-owned services. 2.com/dummies. you won’t be able to view it. If you forget who you’ve set to receive mobile device updates from. follow the instructions. you can toggle Device updates On and Off for many users at a time right on one page with the round button with a cellphone icon on it. You just need a way to see the feed: Most people use something called a feed reader. Just under their avatar photo look for the device updates status. An RSS feed delivers the content to you so that you don’t have to constantly be logged into the Web page. The red dash and OFF means you won’t get this person’s tweets as SMS messages even when SMS device updates are turned ON for your account. Picasa.
If you see one on a Web site. including the ability to thread tweets and track conversations. Click the Mentions tab in the right sidebar (which is marked with @username). This logo is usually all the way to the right in the text field where you enter URLs. you may have to copy and paste the RSS feed’s URL into your reader. but it may differ. You can also click the RSS logo in your browser. they don’t work if Twitter isn’t working. Some of the most popular applications are Twhirl. not unique to Twitter. We cover these desktop clients more thoroughly in Chapter 7. that means you can add its content to your feed reader. open simultaneous accounts. Your Mentions page appears. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the orange RSS button. which varies by browser. and TweetDeck (shown in Figure 4-3). Basically. they rely on it to gather and relay the data you see and use. and more. Your Profile page appears. The feed symbol is universal. Desktop clients You can access Twitter through one of the many downloadable desktop applications that third-party developers have created using Twitter’s API. These services work by talking to Twitter to get the information they need. depending on which browser you use. 2. delete direct messages. create groups. Many of these clients also offer features that Twitter doesn’t. Clicking this button (or logo) automatically prompts you to add the feed to the feed address into Google Reader if you have it set up. . a Twitter client allows you to use Twitter from your desktop without having a browser open.Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best 65 Figure 4-2: An RSS button. filter content. 3. So. Click the Profile link in the upper-right of any Twitter page. If you use an application other than Google Reader. Twitterrific. To get your @replies RSS feed: 1.
Now. It won’t run on Safari or Internet Explorer. and you can’t use it if you don’t use Firefox. Plug-in just means that the application gets installed right into the browser and runs from there.net). and you don’t have to be logged into any service to stay on top of who’s talking to or about you. TwitterFox A third-party application created for Twitter is TwitterFox (http://twitter fox. which is a plug-in that you can use with the Mozilla Firefox Web browser. . Subscribing to RSS feeds If you want to set up an RSS feed for your direct messages or all your followers’ tweets.66 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figure 4-3: You can get your Twitter info by using TweetDeck. clicking the link for your direct messages page or Twitter Home screen in Step 2. you can read Twitter from your RSS reader alongside blogs and news outlets. simply repeat the steps to get your @replies RSS feed.
Using free widget-building tools. complete with step-by-step instructions for installing it. You can install the Google gadget by clicking the download button at http://desktop. The Google gadget works on Google Desktop.com/ twitter. Evan Williams (@ev) announced the creation of a new Tweeting platform called @anywhere. always be careful any time you install something new. too.google. You can find the Twitter application for Facebook at http://apps. Other times. You can use dozens and dozens of official and unofficial widgets for Twitter. Plug-ins that are proven not to be harmful are endorsed by Mozilla. For example.ebay. widgets come in the form of HTML code that you can copy and paste into a MySpace profile or blog template. Mozilla approves plug-ins that have been submitted to its developer program.nytimes.com/goodies/widgets. 67 Widgets and gadgets Twitter and other sites offer widgets (or. they come in the form of an application that you have to install on a social-network platform.com. gadgets) that let you embed information from a service such as Twitter onto other sites so that you can share Twitter more easily. or you can display a badge of your tweets on your Facebook profile. The idea is to recreate the experience of communicating with Twitter users on Twitter.com/plugins/i/twitter. such as Facebook. anyone can build a widget using any RSS feed as the content supply. so there’s no telling how many thousands of Twitter widgets actually exist. Most active Twitter users are happy to provide tips and recommendations.facebook.Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best Although most plug-ins and add-ons made for Twitter are safe to put on your computer. article.com). Preview: @anywhere At the 2010 South by Southwest Interactive festival. which means that you can make your Twitter updates show up as your Facebook status updates. as Google calls them. or event. as well as the iGoogle personal home page product. Twitter users could live-discuss the latest headlines on The New York Times (www. but within the context of another Web site. Sometimes. Just go to http://twitter. A good way to tell whether an application is okay is to ask your friends on Twitter whether they use it. .com) or products they’re considering purchasing on eBay (www. You can find an official Twitter application for Facebook.html. Twitter has an official page where you can find the code for an embeddable widget.
you can build your own widget or plug-in for your site that uses the Open Twitter API. services. but you can use it pretty much as you do the normal site (see Figure 4-4).com.twitter. but you will be using it — without even knowing it — every time you use a thirdparty application. We mention Laura’s company www.68 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Putting Twitter on your site You might want to go a bit beyond run-of-themill widgets if you’re hoping to put Twitter on another Web page seamlessly. and some (such as Twitterrific) have both free and paid versions. anytime. As this feature was announced just as this book’s second edition was going into print. the key to Twitter happiness is Twitter mobility. which you can see in action in Figures 4-5 and 4-6) cost a few bucks. and any way that you want. .com (twitter. Depending on which mobile device you’re viewing the mobile site. Web-based Twitter site’s features (for example. com/anywhere. such as the iPhone or BlackBerry. particularly on your phone.com a handful of times in this book because its mission is to help those new to Twitter find the very best and most useful applications. the interface might be missing a few of the regular. Going Mobile: The Key to Happiness In our experience. If you have technical expertise or access to a good Web developer. you can’t see your favorites or a list of your followers). there are few sites using @anywhere. you probably won’t ever touch the Twitter API directly. Please let her know whether it’s helpful to you. For more information about @anywhere. Apple’s iPhone has a nice interface for Twitter.com.com/anywhere) or check out the Twitter’s Development portal at http://dev.oneforty. earlier in this chapter) or on the Twitter Mobile Web site at http://m. and you can find several options in the iTunes App Store that you can download to make Twitter on the go even easier. If you’re not a computer programmer or developer. You can get this mobility via SMS (which we talk about in the “Text messages (SMS delivery)” section. You can find details on building a widget at http://apiwiki. and tools within the Twitter ecosystem. follow @anywhere on Twitter. If you have a higher-end phone. you can try out a few downloadable Twitter apps. You should be able to use Twitter anywhere.twitter. some (such as Tweetie.twitter. Some of these apps (such as Twinkle and TwitterFon) are free.
Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best 69 Figure 4-4: The robust iPhone m.twitter . including the extremely popular TwitterBerry (shown in Figure 4-7). BlackBerry users have fewer applications at their disposal. . such as photos and some links.com Web site. BlackBerry users also have a challenge — the device’s specialized browser can’t display all the content on Twitter. Figure 4-5: You can read your tweet stream with the Tweetie iPhone application.
Figure 4-7: TwitterBerry. a Twitter BlackBerry application .70 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figure 4-6: You can post new tweets by using Tweetie.
at home. but with Twitter. . has a much more complete list of Twitter applications that enhance your tweeting experience. The API is so customizable that you can create a completely new service for Twitter on a whim. especially if you plan to mold Twitter to fit a specific company goal or make it a big part of a marketing campaign or promotion. can keep a conversation going through several pints of beer at a tweetup. or even while rock climbing. If you can’t find an existing application that works with Twitter to make it do exactly what you need. and new ones are created fairly regularly. whose debates over Twitterfon (free).99). There’s no real consensus on which is the best.com). Tweetie ($2.Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best If you have a Windows Mobile phone. and Twittelator Pro ($4. Try out a few to see which ones you prefer. we recommend an application called ceTwit if you don’t have a touch screen.oneforty. answering your perennial Which app is best for.com). and that flexibility is a big part of what keeps Twitter users loyal through all its growing pains. 71 The open-API difference Twitter’s open API fuels its flexibility. . . based on what you want to do with it — which is a big plus. ? questions. you can mold it to work anywhere you need it to: at work. among others. oneforty (www. Full customization is rare on the Web. Everyone pretty much swears by the apps they love the best.99). If you do have a touch screen. These mobile Twitter apps barely scratch the surface of what you can find out there. Laura’s company. Android users. try Twitroid (www. look into an iPhone-like interface client called PocketTwit (made by Google Labs).twitroid. and no user group is more enthusiastic than the iPhone crowd. you can either make one yourself or hire someone to do it.
72 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? .
Part II Joining Your Flock on Twitter .
In this part . . .
fter you set up a Twitter account and know how to find everything Twitter-related that you might need, you probably want to know and find the people you want to communicate with. In this part, we show you how to find the people you may know outside of Twitter on Twitter, locate people who share your interests, and identify other personalities and brands that you may want to connect with using Twitter.
Tweeting It Up
In This Chapter
▶ Following people ▶ Scouring Twitter for interesting people to follow ▶ Replying to messages, privately and publicly ▶ Attracting new followers
ne of the neatest byproducts of the Twitter experience is that your conversations, your followers, and your ability to interact with your network extends far past the Twitter.com interface into other platforms and even into the real world due to Twitter’s ability to facilitate communications to plan both formal and spontaneous events. But equally important to accessing your Twitter account from virtually anywhere is understanding how to interact within the community. In this chapter, we go over the nuts and bolts involved in discovering, managing, and interacting with your network: the people you follow on Twitter and the people who follow you. Additionally, we give you some hints about how to play well with others within the twitterverse so that you can start having conversations right away!
Finding People to Follow on Twitter
A key part of getting the most out of Twitter is knowing where and how to find people whose Twitter streams are of interest to you. Most people start by following their friends, associates, and people they know. However, millions of people use Twitter, so you might consider scouring Twitter.com for other people who can add value to your stream. You can easily find and follow people on Twitter: You naturally browse to people’s profiles when you think that something they say is interesting or relevant to you. But, when you start accumulating updates from the people you follow, you’ll quickly realize that you need to figure out who’s worth following. That process can become complicated because of the large size and diversity of the Twitter ecosystem.
Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter
Avid users have countless theories and strategies about the best ways and reasons to follow others. But, remember, Twitter is for your use, so you can make up your own rules as you go along, creating your own criteria for building up a Twitter stream. Twitter is a very personalized experience. No two people use Twitter in exactly the same way, and no two people follow a given account on Twitter for exactly the same reasons. Quite literally, no two people experience the same Twitter because everyone is consuming different streams, and publishing to, and interacting with, different sets of readers. Twitter is not a single village, as the term Twitterville implies. When Laura wrote “Twitter is my Village,” (http://pistachioconsulting.com/ it-takes-a-village-to-understand-twitter), she meant that each twitterer’s personal community on Twitter functions like a village. Even now that Twitter has entered the mainstream, you’re still able to shape your experience by selecting who you listen to and interact with. As you become better at your entire Twitter experience, you naturally develop and change your own guidelines for building your network. Luckily, Twitter is built to allow for these changes, so you don’t have to miss a beat. Whether you’re looking for business associates, news sources, friendly conversation, or anything else, Twitter can help you surround yourself with people and companies that can enrich your stream.
Look who’s talking
When you want to start looking for people to follow, see whether anyone’s already talked back to you. If you’ve already posted some tweets, people may have replied to you. (If you haven’t yet tweeted, what are you waiting for? Dive in and start tweeting!) When someone wants to address you directly on Twitter, that user does so by replying to you. They simply put the @ symbol before your Twitter handle at the beginning of a tweet — that’s all it takes to reply. As a subtle point, if someone includes your name preceded by an @ symbol anywhere in their tweet, it’s more generally considered an @-mention. Either way, you can view any tweets that mention you on the Mentions tab in the sidebar (it’s the tab with @ followed by your username on it), assuming that those tweets are public or the person mentioning you has authenticated you to view their tweets (if their account is private). If you’re completely new to Twitter and you’ve only posted a handful of tweets, you probably won’t have any mentions yet. That’s okay! You have plenty of other options for finding people to follow (see the next sections).
Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up
Searching for people
You can best search for people on Twitter by using one of two methods: Twitter Search (http://search.twitter.com) or the People Search function (http://twitter.com/search/users). You can also reach Twitter’s People Search page (as shown in Figure 5-1) by clicking Find People in the upper-right corner of your Twitter screen’s toolbar. Another, lesser-known way to find people on Twitter is by simply using the Google search engine at www.google.com. Because Google indexes every public tweet, you can use it to find twitterers by interest or by name. To use Google to find twitterers that you might want to follow, either search their firstname lastname and the word Twitter or do a slightly more specific search this way:
Figure 5-1: Search for Twitter users on the People Search page.
1. Type your keywords or the username you’re looking for in the text box. 2. Add site:Twitter.com at the end of your search query. 3. Click the Search button. See what pops up! Figure 5-2 shows the results of a search for Lance Armstrong.
Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter
You probably want to conduct people searches and keyword searches periodically to make sure that you continue to cultivate your Twitter experience’s richness and value with new voices. Although Twitter is great for reconnecting with old friends and keeping up a conversation with existing business associates, it’s also a fantastic way to reach out and find new people and companies to listen to. A great way to get started following people on Twitter is to import your contacts from your Web-based e-mail account (like Yahoo! Mail or Gmail). We cover this in detail in Chapter 2.
Figure 5-2: The Google results of a Twitter user search for Lance Armstrong.
Using Simple Search
Twitter’s main search page (http://search.twitter.com) is great for advanced searching. But, sometimes, a quick search is what you need. Twitter makes it easy to do this, as well as save that search for immediate future use. In the right-hand column, you can see a search field immediately below the Retweets link (shown in Figure 5-3). You can type anything you want there and when you press enter or click the magnifying glass, your Twitter feed turns into a live search result of all the tweets that match your search query.
Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up
If this is a search you think you’d be doing often, you can save that search by clicking on the Save this search button, marked by the green plus sign, on the upper-right hand corner of the feed. That search term sits inside of your right-hand sidebar for quick access to live search results. (You can find it under the search box.)
Figure 5-3: Fast Twitter Search for the Jonas Brothers.
Inviting people personally, through Twitter
Another option for inviting people to Twitter is to do it personally, directly to their individual e-mail addresses. You can find this tab (Invite By Email) on the Find People page (as shown in Figure 5-4), and it gives you a way to hand-pick people from your e-mail address book. You can also text Twitter at 40404 at anytime with the words invite email@example.com substituting in your friend’s e-mail address, of course. Keep in mind that Twitter doesn’t offer you a chance to customize what the e-mail says. The person or company you invite gets a generic e-mail that mentions your Twitter handle and some basic information about how to sign up for an account. If you have people you want to invite to Twitter whom you think may not respond well to a generic e-mail, you can use the method described in the following section to invite them, instead.
and you think they’d respond better to a private or more personalized note. the only tweets that show up are from the person in that list. you can assign those people to lists. By using the Lists feature.twitter. It’s often more effective to e-mail them a link to an article that is going to help them understand what uses of Twitter they may find valuable. The main drawback to any of the invitation options in Twitter’s Web interface is that none of them offer a custom message option. For example. just shoot them a normal e-mail that includes a link to the Twitter main page (www. You can view these lists as discreet Twitter streams so that when you view them. Twitter is definitely a minute-to-learn. Unsurprisingly. If you know people whom you want to invite. For example. You can use this feature to your advantage when finding other Twitter users to follow. you may have a few different types of people you’ve followed: some are celebrities.com) and a note about why they might benefit from signing up and joining in. they’re called Twitter Lists. lifetime-to-master type of system. others are people you work with.80 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter Figure 5-4: The Twitter Invite By Email screen. you . and they can provide some structure to the people that you follow in allowing you to categorize them. some are friends you went to school with. Checking out Twitter Lists One of Twitter’s newer features is the ability for users to create lists of accounts. if a classmate of yours has found you on Twitter.
” After a suggestion to add the hashtag #follow f r i d a y and four folks retweeting it. you can search for #followfriday at http://search.” That’s it! If you’re new to Twitter and you’re looking for people to follow. Why Fridays? Fridays seem to work well because it’s the end of the week.com to see frequently recommended Twitter users.Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up may visit her profile and notice that she’s created a list of people that went to your alma mater. it’s easy. The concept is very simple: Write a tweet listing two or three people you follow that you think others should follow as well. twitter.com to see people who have been recommended. and you can share people you’re proud to know (even if it’s just on Twitter) with other people. and he has this to say about it: In January of 2009. 81 A community leads Twitter users have come up with an interesting way of recommending people to follow — something called FollowFriday. participatory way. Twitter is about sharing information and experiences with people you’re proud to be associated with. more than 100. you take their word. After a few months. or a restaurant to go to.000 tweets with more than 300. pronounced Me-ha) started it. #followfriday. so be brief both with your recommendations and with your explanations!) For example. and if you trust them. your news-junkie friend may have a list of the best breaking-news Twitter accounts. If you find a list that you really enjoy. (Remember: It’s only 140 characters. I sent a simple tweet: “I am starting FollowFridays. It uses a community-driven system called hashtags. or check out sites like http://followfridays. After all. Or. time because it’s Friday overseas!) and it’s growing each week.000 recommendations are sent each Friday (it actually begins on Thursday U. FollowFriday is exactly what makes Twitter great. Our friend Micah Baldwin (@micah. and people have the time to think about whom they would like to recommend.com and http://topfollowfriday. In short. Plus. which we cover in Chapter 9. in a very easy. One person suggests a book to read. and everyone follow him/her. It gives you the ability to participate. Every Friday. and provide a bit of an explanation. curated by your friend. We cover Lists more in-depth in Chapter 7. “@pistachio @micah @gruen are three people that make me laugh every day. or a person you should meet. and select the breaking news outlet that works best for you. FollowFriday mirrors what happens in the real world. By clicking on that list. FollowFriday was born. you can add that list to your own Twitter List collection. now does it? .S. you can use other people to help find accounts that can add value to your experience. You can go into that list. FollowTuesday just doesn’t have the same type of ring. you can see the usernames of everyone she has found on Twitter who went to your school. suggest people to follow. Today its @jeffrey and @dannynewman.
it’s nice to know when someone’s following you. You can safely ignore them. or it may be because they think you’re a good person to follow. Twitter. but if you’d like to help Twitter identify these accounts. Figure 5-5: On the Notices screen. Click Settings in the top-right navigation bar.82 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter By following back By default. The Settings page opens. if any. they still crop up from time to time. 3. This is a useful starting point for finding people to follow because there’s likely a reason why they followed you in the first place. has spammers. 2. you can choose which. e-mails are sent to your mailbox. . usually offering you the usual fare of online deals or bedroom-related drugs. you can click the Block and Report for Spam button on their profiles. Select any of the e-mails you’d rather not receive. you can turn them off: 1. like any popular online communication tool. Although Twitter has aggressively fought spam accounts. You see a list of e-mail notification options. Twitter sends you an e-mail every time someone follows you. Click the Notices tab (see Figure 5-5).com. Either way. They’re pretty easy to spot. If you find receiving Twitter notices a bother. It may be because they know you.
Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up
How to Follow People
Mechanically, following people on Twitter is dead simple. After you navigate to a person’s Profile page, click the Follow button just below her avatar. And, you’re done! Give it a shot: 1. Browse to http://twitter.com/dummies. 2. Click the Follow button. The button changes to the word Following. Cool! Alternately, you can post this message from SMS or any Twitter interface by typing Follow username or F username. Following people on Twitter is straightforward. On the most superficial level, you just have to pay attention. Twitter is full of thousands of great conversations going on all around you. If you open yourself up to them, you may find that hundreds of excellent people are thrilled to meet you.
Following People Even More Quickly with Hover
When you’re operating on Twitter-time, sometimes you may feel that it takes you too long to decide whether or not to follow someone when you see their username show up in your Twitter feed. For these reasons, Twitter developed the Hover feature. The Hover feature is really straightforward: hover your mouse over anyone’s username in the feed and a box pops up, giving you a quick summary of who that user is, giving you an easy way to understand the tweet in context, and allowing you to follow them right from the hover box! The Hover feature has been known to be a little buggy, so if your Internet connection is slow or Twitter.com simply doesn’t feel like it, you won’t get the hover. However, the feature’s only meant to make it easier for you to figure out who users are without navigating away. Visiting that user’s profile will do the same thing, in any case.
Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter
Replying to Tweets
So, what happens when you receive an @reply, and you want to respond — or if you just want to respond to any tweet, for that matter? Hover your mouse cursor over the right side of the tweet in question when you see it in your stream on Twitter’s Home screen, and images of an arrow and a star appear (as shown in Figure 5-6). Clicking the Star icon bookmarks that tweet as a favorite — which we cover in Chapter 3. But clicking the Arrow icon sets up the Twitter entry field so that you can reply to that individual tweet. When you send your response, it says In Reply To below the tweet and includes a live link to the standalone page (also known as a permalink) for the tweet you responded to. Figure 5-7 shows a typical Twitter @reply.
Figure 5-6: Don’t miss the Reply arrow!
Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up
You may find these permalinks helpful because Twitter is not great at threading tweets together by conversation. If you’re familiar with a set of @replies and the links associated with them, you can much more easily navigate the conversation later. When you know how to access the individual page for each tweet, you can also link to that tweet directly if you choose to respond to it in a longer format outside of Twitter, such as a blog post. You can reply to any tweet that you can see, and the procedure is the same, whether you’re following the person or not. But, assuming your Twitter account is public, your @replies are public, too. If you want to use Twitter for private messages, the protocol is a little different, as we talk about in the section “Direct Messaging,” later in this chapter.
Figure 5-7: You can respond to tweets by using @ replies.
Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter
Go ahead and jump right in
Given the casual and conversational tone of Twitter, you can pretty easily jump into an existing conversation on Twitter, and (unless you’re trying) you don’t look like you’re barging in. Twitter users are aware that this is a public forum and contributions can come from anywhere and at anytime. Start by clicking one of the usernames involved in the conversation, or enter one or both usernames manually in the Update window. (Remember: The format for addressing a Twitter user is @username.) Then chime in by saying something relevant to their discussion. Don’t rush to be conversational to the point that you end up being irrelevant. If the conversation is about something you don’t know anything about, hold off. But if it’s about a movie that you’ve seen or a business theory that you’ve put into practice, pipe up! It may take a few tries with a few different people to get the ball rolling. Don’t be discouraged if you send out a few @replies and don’t get responses; some Twitter users, especially relatively new ones, don’t always pay close attention or respond to @replies either from people whom they’re not following or those who don’t seem particularly perceptive to them. Many people on Twitter, however, respond very quickly to new voices in their Twitter stream because, for many on Twitter, the point is to be conversational. Be patient about expecting replies to questions that are easily answered using Google or other resources. Also please be patient with people that a lot of people talk to. Demi Moore, for example, does a great job of conversing with the hundreds and hundreds of people who write to @mrskutcher every day, but if she tried to answer everyone, she would have no time to be with her family (or for that matter, to be beautiful and entertaining in her films!). To see how busy her @mentions tab is, just search @mrskutcher (http:// search.twitter.com/search?q=%40 mrskutcher).
In the early days of Twitter, it was commonplace for people not to just reply to tweets they liked, but to forward that tweet on to their own followers. This practice grew to be known as retweeting (RT or R/T for short) and was so popular that Twitter built that functionality directly into their interface. To retweet a link, follow these steps: 1. Hover over the tweet that you’d like to forward on to your followers. 2. Click the Retweet button. A confirmation dialog pops up, so click yes, and that tweet will be forwarded on to your followers. To your followers, that tweet looks as if it came from the person who wrote the tweet in the first place, complete with their avatar picture and username. To credit you for the retweet, Twitter places your name directly below the tweet.
Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up
If the user has marked their updates as private, you won’t see the retweet button. However, you can, of course, retweet them as you would before Twitter implemented the Retweet feature.
Retweeting the old-fashioned way
Although the Retweet feature is pretty neat, some users prefer the old way of doing things. (In fact, some Twitter API applications, which we cover in later chapters, don’t include the retweet functionality, so it’s good to know what the manual RT looks like in these cases.) To retweet someone’s tweet, simply retype or copy and paste that tweet into your Tweet prompt at the top of the page and format it like so: RT @dummies This Tweet was written so you can practice retweeting. Some people (not us) prefer to retweet people this way: This Tweet was written so you can practice retweeting. (via @dummies) In our minds, Twitter etiquette says to make every effort to credit the original speaker of the tweet. When reviewing Twitter, many readers will read the beginning of the tweet and ignore the remainder or anything in parentheses following the tweet. Therefore, in our minds, it’s more polite to recognize the speaker upfront.
Commentary on the retweet
Retweeting the old-fashioned way has some advantages. One compelling reason is that users can comment on the original message. Using Twitter’s built-in retweet function, that’s not possible as the original message is preserved and forwarded as-is. Therefore, to add commentary, you must either write it in another Tweet and link to the original, or use the old RT method if there’s room for comment. For example, one might say: @neilarmstrong: That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Only to be retweeted with addendum: @buzzaldrin: That was supposed to be “a man”. Sheesh! RT @neilarmstrong That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. (Note: we are as certain that these Twitter accounts are those of the famous astronauts as we are that the moon landing wasn’t faked in a Hollywood basement.)
Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter
Private messages on Twitter are called direct messages (DMs). Like any other kind of tweet, they’re limited to 140 characters in length. You can’t send a DM to someone unless that Twitter user is following you — likewise, only your own followers can send you DMs. What do you do if you want to get in touch with someone privately on Twitter but that person isn’t following you? New Twitter users are often tempted to send @replies to that person saying “tried to DM but you don’t follow” or something of the sort. Some Twitter users don’t mind receiving those kinds of tweets, but many others see them as rude or as blatant attempts to get new followers. So, if you’re trying to get in touch with someone who doesn’t follow you, you have some options: ✓ Check the user’s Profile page. See whether he has made available some other form of contact information — a Web site URL, an e-mail address, or a blog. You can often find this info in a user’s short bio section. ✓ Conduct a Web search. Try searching for the user on your favorite search engine. ✓ Tweet a polite question publicly to the user. While the you-don’t-followme approach is a little obnoxious, most twitterers will make a reasonable effort to respond if you respect their time and make it clear why they should answer you. Send a message to @username expressing why you’re requesting their time and attention, and ask that they respond privately. Just try to differentiate between the ability to reach out to someone and the right to demand a response.
When you’re truly connected, you start to find going to the Direct Messages page every time you want to send someone a message a bit tedious. Thankfully, the folks at Twitter have come up with a shorthand. To send a DM without going to the Direct Messages page: 1. Click in the What Are You Doing? window. 2. Type d, followed by a space, and then the username of the person to whom you want to send a direct message. 3. Type a space after his username and then write a message. The update should have this form: d dummies Hey, there! 4. Click Send button to send the DM. We cover other shorthand tricks in Chapter 7.
✓ Sensitive information: If you’re supplying contact information. ✓ Volume: If you’re a power user who posts to Twitter many times a day. boss. So. you should consider the following criteria: ✓ Questionable content: If your mother. especially if it contains personal information that you don’t want the whole Internet to know (such as a phone number or address). grandmother. If you tweet often. and you’re likely to gain followers without even trying. you gain followers in the natural course of using Twitter. think twice! Encouraging More Followers Twitter is a very receptive environment for forging connections with new friends and contacts. so amassing a list of followers is relatively simple. phone numbers. or something else. Keep in mind that not everybody has the same standards regarding privacy and openness on the Web. or other personal information that you don’t want just anyone on the Internet to have access to. You should be sensitive to this fact. pushing two d’s. you can very easily make a typing error. Look twice before you send your message to make sure that it’s truly private and not a public tweet by accident.or two-word responses. or kid were looking over your shoulder at what you just started typing. so if you’re sharing any information pertaining to anybody else’s contact information or whereabouts. such as “@pistachio LOL” or “@dummies How?” for a direct message. Being genuine goes a long way. but here are a few guidelines to follow: ✓ Be real. err on the side of caution and use a DM. give your followers a break and save those one. 89 Should I @ or DM? When you try to decide whether to respond to somebody on Twitter by using a public @reply or a private DM.Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up One word of caution if you plan to send direct messages from a phone or by typing d and the username of the recipient: On a small keyboard. would they be in any way embarrassed or disapproving? If the answer is yes. it’s the right time for a direct message. perhaps a direct message is in order. addresses. . If you haven’t protected your tweets. every tweet goes into your followers’ streams and contributes to the noise. such as misspelling the username. accidentally posting a letter other than d. Typically. remember that whatever you write is indexed for all time.
In our opinion. such as number of tweets or number of followers. Without being too authoritative. it’s almost proof enough in and of itself just to mention her. but do try to tweet about things more relevant to the world at large than what you just ate for lunch or the heinous traffic on your morning commute. Say that you’re really into classic cars — don’t talk just about your own fascination with them. and she notices and responds — you’re going to be barraged by new followers who’ve seen your username in connection with that famous person’s. along with your ability to listen. Some Twitter users try to lure followers by offering contests. If you’re lucky enough that @Oprah posts a tweet with your @username in it — usually after you @Oprah her. instead. now that Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) tweets. Talk about your interests. Get into heated conversations and debates. If you wouldn’t interrupt the person next to you in line at the store with your question. not selfish for the speaker. or other incentives to reach certain pseudo-milestones. Listening is the golden ticket of Twitter — make sure to do it every day that you log in. too. .90 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter ✓ Be interesting. Plenty of influential people use Twitter. Conversation is two-way and most effective when it’s generous to the listener. position yourself as someone who has some valuable information on your chosen issue to see an increase in your number of followers. Regardless of how you get people to follow you. determines your authority more than any follower count ever could. This approach is a little bit cheesy and can look like you’re desperate for new followers. so don’t count on a response from a famous twitterer as a way to get your foot in the door when it comes to Twitter influence. You don’t have to fascinate with every tweet you type. but try to help other people on Twitter who might have questions on the subject. giveaways. the more people will respond to your enthusiasm. from celebrities like Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and Britney Spears (@britneyspears) to politicians like Democratic Congresswoman Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) and dozens more. ✓ Be involved. We can’t stress the importance of listening enough. Or talk about what you think should be in the news. Talk about what’s in the news. and then respond thoughtfully. Heck. the more you can find out about people and the more well-rounded your experience (and the experience of your followers) becomes. The more you listen and hear what people have to say. it’s probably not nice to interrupt someone with a lot of demands on their time with it. And log in often. make sure to keep your Twitter interactions genuine. But the most popular Twitter users have hundreds of thousands of followers and hundreds of people @replying to them. What you post on Twitter and contribute to the conversation. It’s also just rude to use someone like that. you can have a better time on Twitter if you just allow your network to grow organically. The more “into” a topic you are.
Twitter allows a user to communicate effectively with one person or many. You can take a look through this chapter to see whether the person or company that you want to find is already here. but I don’t have their contact info!”? Well. Twitter can help you bridge that gap. It’s become an effective tool for reaching out to people. and even celebrities. companies. people from all walks of life have discovered Twitter and embraced it. In this chapter. You may be surprised to see which companies. Have you ever thought. Twitter quickly became a playground for techies and geeks. “I wish I could talk to someone higher up the ladder and get a real solution to this problem!” or even “I’d love to be able to tell this person or that company what a good job they do. we cover some of these well-known early Twitter users and show you where you can find others. and the benefits can work for anyone. people. But over time. Twitter opens doors and grants you all kinds of accessibility to people you might never have had access to before. both on.and offline.Chapter 6 Who’s Using Twitter In This Chapter ▶ Meeting the regular folks who tweet ▶ Seeing how companies reach out on Twitter ▶ Keeping up with politicians who use Twitter ▶ Tweeting with celebrities ▶ Identifying syndicated and community-created Twitter accounts B ecause Twitter is so easy to use. . Tweeting with Regular People After it gained a foothold among the digital-media enthusiasts at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in 2007. and brands have jumped onto Twitter.
friends. But the biggest asset of Twitter is the sheer mass of everyday people who want to share their thoughts. Figure 6-1: Martha Stewart has her own Twitter account. as superficial as a stream of 140-character messages may seem. and coworkers. such as your family and friends. Both introverted and extroverted people can really benefit from this environment. Plus. so many twitterers find themselves turning their online connections into offline friendships and business relationships fairly often.92 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter Twitter has become a quick and easy way to stay connected to family. But you can also meet some very unconventional people on Twitter. the unconventional twitterers are the most interesting. as well as to meet some like-minded people. You can easily set up meetings and events through Twitter on fairly short notice. and network. you’ll encounter everyone from celebrities (see Figure 6-1) to local religious leaders and great-grandmothers who blog. You never know who you may find from day to day. . On Twitter. You’ll probably want to use Twitter to talk to people whom you know in real life. which is part of Twitter’s charm. too. People at all levels of all sorts of business can use Twitter to easily interact with customers and potential clients and get realtime engagement and feedback. spread the news. Sometimes. You can probably discover at least one new thing from someone on Twitter every day that you log in. the Twitter community has evolved into a real way for real people to connect in the real world.
Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter So.com/username) and looking for the Verified Account logo right above the Twitter User’s name. To combat identity loss. your home address or phone number — in public tweets. The core-base of twitterers who formed Twitter’s initial user group still tweet away. You can tell whether or not an account is verified by navigating to the account’s profile page (twitter. . only @CNN has Verified Account status. Regardless of whom you know on Twitter. Save those for e-mail or direct messages. you may think that everyone on Twitter is in the technology or marketing industries in some way. it’s growing rather fast now. It’s also a pretty handy place to find other users of that category you might want to follow. Keep an eye out for those people and follow them as they become visible to you — you sure can get more value out of following them than following someone who posts 20 times a day about their dog. and they’re still some of the most prolific users. Twitter works on the Internet. or your best friend from high school — in fact. Also remember that Google indexes your tweets. within the sidebar column. your mom and your best friend from high school may already be on Twitter. Just because a Twitter user isn’t one of the most prolific people on the service doesn’t mean that person isn’t worth your time. If you are still unsure. its dummy user account for verified accounts. after all. and even though the Twitter community has tended to be a trustworthy one. Twitter now verifies accounts of public and popular names. Twitter puts all of its verified users into a Twitter list on @verified. so did the number of fake Twitter accounts claiming to be celebrities and popular brand names. 93 Verified Accounts As Twitter expanded in popularity. Exercise caution! Don’t blurt out sensitive information — say. But you can also find thousands of people tweeting who are just like you. what noncelebrity people can you find on Twitter? At first glance. These are called Verified Accounts. you may want to set a few boundaries. so although the Twitter accounts @CNN and @NYTimes are both who you would expect them to be. Some of the most interesting twitterers post less than others. It’s an opt-in service. your mom. waiting to add their two cents until they think they have something worth saying. so the whole Internet can see what you say. Verified Accounts are accounts that the Twitter staff have verified as being who you’d expect them to be. as of time of print.
in the process. strengthen relationships with customers. chances are good you won’t be. Hsieh himself often responds to Twitter users if they tweet him about a problem or specific need. .600 Zappos. collected tweets about Zappos.94 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter If the Verified Logo is anywhere other than the upper-right corner of the side column. (http://twitter. Bummer. and an amalgamation of every employee’s tweets and profiles. The process for becoming a verified account is a bit tricky and will change over time. more than 400 are on Twitter.com: This online retailer was founded in the dot-com boom and is based in Las Vegas. Hsieh and the rest of Zappos. but CEO Tony Hsieh encourages Zappos. Their dedicated microsite http://Twitter.zappos. as she confessed sometime early in 2009. Zappos. For live. Not only does the company monitor and use Twitter for customer service and feedback. who is @el_gato. we listed Tina Fey as a celebrity to follow on Twitter. It has fully integrated Twitter into its corporate structure. In the first edition. provide better and more immediate customer service.com/employees) actively tweeting to one another. Companies’ presences on Twitter range from individual Twitter accounts belonging to CEOs and employees.com features Twitter searches for every brand they sell.com. and boost sales.Zappos. we have a confession: Even we get it wrong from time to time. Not even we are verified! Building Company Relationships with Twitter Many companies have found value in Twitter as a way to build awareness of their brand name. (He even has an account for his cat. about their own lives and work. El Gato.com/help/verified. Here are some of the most famous examples of companies that have gotten some positive buzz for their presence on Twitter: ✓ Zappos. up-to-the-minute status on how you might become a Twitter verified account. both current and potential. Unfortunately. com employees to participate on Twitter to keep the world posted on what’s going on in the company.com employees. the @tinafey account was not Tina Fey.com make sure that they’re engaged with their customer base. because we really like Tina Fey. see: http://twitter. Be forewarned! If you suspect you won’t be eligible for Verified Account processing. to corporate accounts for the brand run by teams of marketing or PR representatives. and. In fact.) Of nearly 1. that account is likely not the user you think it is.
which also maintains a Twitter-focused microsite at www. companies in all kinds of industries are using Twitter effectively.com/twitter. but Frank’s team is extremely dedicated and inspiring and has attracted substantial press coverage and goodwill toward the company.com/netsolcares) ✓ Baby Fish Mouth (http://twitter. How this will scale remains to be seen. run by Frank Eliason. offering customer service support and Twitter-only discount deals (DellOutlet) that led to over a million in sales.com/pangaeaorganica) ✓ Templeton Rye (http://twitter.com/bfmwear) ✓ Second Life (http://twitter.com/elanaspantry) ✓ Pangaea Organica (http://twitter.dell.com/comcastcares) ✓ Network Solutions (http://twitter. is engaging with customers in several innovative ways thanks to Twitter’s ability to enable real-time interactions and on-the-ball responses.com/flyingdog) ✓ Elanas Pantry (http://twitter. and nightlife: ✓ The Roxy Theater (http://twitter. Here is just a tiny sampling of some companies that do business related to food. helping as many as they can and backed up by the ability to escalate problems directly into Comcast’s executive customer service department. this cable company took Twitter by surprise (although they had been actively listening to Twitter for two months when they did) and established the Comcast Cares account (@comcastcares). customers filled a popular anti-Dell Web site with negative feedback and derogatory remarks.com/giftgirl) ✓ Comcast (http://twitter.com/templetonrye) These retailers tweet: ✓ Seventh Generation (http://twitter.twitter.com/secondlife) 95 .” Frank now has a team of employees on Twitter who handle customer service. the company’s director of “digital care. Dell.com/theroxy) ✓ 21st Amendment (http://twitter. drink.com/seventhgen) ✓ GiftGirl (http://www. At one point. ✓ Dell: This computer manufacturer has also had some branding issues. such as @RichardAtDell. The company countered with a strong social media program that now includes real people behind active Twitter accounts.Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter ✓ Comcast: After serious issues with negative connotations to their brand name.com/21stamendment) ✓ Flying Dog Ales (http://twitter. In fact.
com/TIvegas) If you want some resources on financial matters. Brown and Company (http://twitter.com/littlebrown) ✓ MEP Publishers (http://twitter.com/yalepress) If you’re looking for travel info. have a look at these accounts: ✓ Capgemini (http://twitter. and budgeting.com/bookingbuddy) ✓ Global Base Camps (http://twitter.96 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter These publishing companies have Twitter accounts up and running: ✓ Grand Central Publishing (http://twitter.com/lenderflexcares) ✓ QuickBooks (http://twitter.com/seatguru) ✓ Smarter Travel (http://twitter.com/ mandalaybay_LV) ✓ MGM Grand Hotel and Casino (http://twitter.com/HRBlock) ✓ Lenderflex (http://twitter.com/globalbasecamps) ✓ HotelChatter (http://twitter.com/ skiheavenly) ✓ Luxor Hotel and Casino (http://twitter.com/hotelchatter) ✓ Seat Guru (http://twitter.com/lenderflex) ✓ LenderflexCares (http://twitter.com/smartertravel) ✓ Travel Rants (http://twitter.com/quickbooks) ✓ QuickenLoans (http://twitter. business. check out these Twitter accounts: ✓ Booking Buddy (http://twitter.com/meppublishers) ✓ Septagon Studios (http://twitter.com/grandcentralpub) ✓ Little.com/septagonstudios) ✓ Yale Press (http://twitter.com/mgmgrand) ✓ Treasure Island Hotel and Casino (http://twitter.com/capgemini) ✓ H&R Block (http://twitter.com/quickenloans) .com/luxorlv) ✓ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (http://twitter. check out the following: ✓ Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe (http://twitter.com/travelrants) For a sampling of resorts and hotels on Twitter.
Follow @touchbase to receive a tweet when either of these resources is updated. 97 Talking Politics with Actual Politicians Politicians have been taking to Twitter as a means to connect with their constituents and their fellow politicians — as well as to give a more intimate look into their lives at a time when transparency is one of the most positive buzzwords around. But many prominent Republicans are now onboard as well. com/number10gov) ✓ Former Vice President Al Gore (http://twitter. and many users started exploring Twitter in the midst of Barack Obama’s tech-savvy and successful presidential campaign. President Barack Obama (http://twitter. you can read Pistachio Consulting’s TouchBase blog (www.Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter Thousands and thousands of businesses large and small are using Twitter.S.com/barackobama) ✓ California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (http://twitter. Here are some political groups and figures to get you started: ✓ U.touchbaseblog. Government figures have to deal with privacy and legal issues that most other twitterers don’t. of course.S.com) or browse the extensive Twitter for Business bookmarks that Pistachio maintains on the TouchBase link blog (http:// delicious. for example. . The Democratic Party was the first to jump on the bandwagon. President Barack Obama’s account.com/whitehouse) Note that some of these accounts aren’t maintained by the people who use them.com/ schwarzenegger) ✓ The Office of British Prime Minister David Cameron (http://twitter. is maintained by a staff member. which stands for Top Conservatives on Twitter. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (http:// twitter. so politicians may occasionally seem a bit on the quiet side when tweeting.com/nrcc) ✓ U. as evidenced by the hashtag #tcot.S.com/dccc) ✓ U. National Republican Congressional Committee (http:// twitter. Easiest way to keep up with both? Twitter.com/touchbaseblog). For more information.com/algore) ✓ The White House (http://twitter.
✓ To be real: Singers Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) and Sara Bareilles (@SaraBareilles) tweet just like the rest of us — gushing in excitement over successes. Celebrities use Twitter. uses his Twitter stream to help promote new artists.com in the weekend after Ashton Kutcher appeared on her show and Oprah started to tweet. Rumor has it that 1.com/rainnwilson) ✓ 50 Cent (http://twitter.com/johncmayer) ✓ Jimmy Eat World (http://twitter.” In many ways.98 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter Following Celebrities on Twitter Many people are hearing about Twitter for the first time because they’ve seen it on entertainment news shows such as Access Hollywood or The Soup.com/wilw) ✓ Soleil Moon Frye (http://twitter.com. In the weeks leading up to publication. and offer lively thoughts on the state of the industry. Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) and other world-renowned household brands have started to sign up.com/dalailama) ✓ Jimmy Fallon (http://twitter. complaining over tired feet and other mundane life moments that make theirs seem a whole lot more “real. ✓ To share interests: Rapper MC Hammer (@MCHammer). Twitter functions as a sort of impromptu fan club for techsavvy celebs both renowned and up-and-coming. who founded a Web video startup called DanceJam. Here are a few more Twitter accounts you may want to take a peek at: ✓ The Dalai Lama (http://twitter.com/moonfrye) ✓ John Cleese (http://twitter.5 million new people reached Twitter.com/jimmyeatworld) ✓ Wil Wheaton (http://twitter.com/jimmyfallon) ✓ Rainn Wilson (http://twitter. too! The celebrities who use Twitter do so for different reasons: ✓ To connect with fans: Bands such as Coldplay (@coldplay) announce tour and concert dates by using Twitter. ✓ To get personal: Basketball star Shaquille O’Neal (@THE_REAL_SHAQ) and celebrity couple Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and Demi Moore (@mrskutcher) use Twitter to offer an intimate — and often irreverent — glimpse into their lives. Cyclist Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) provides information about the race circuit and his charity efforts.com/johncleese) .com/50cent) ✓ John Mayer (http://twitter. share his favorite music.
com and a number of sites have made finding popular users even easier. . Of course. You can usually tell whether the person is legit by looking at the number of followers — if he has a large number of followers. Figure 6-2: Twitter users who are of and are relating to Charity. you may not care if the person is the real celebrity if you actually enjoy the person’s tweets! 99 Twitter Directories To be honest we. but even that isn’t a guarantee.Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter People do start Twitter accounts using celebrities’ names. In the topright navigation bar. click on Find People and then the Browse Suggestions tab. the Twitter For Dummies. team simply can’t compete with timeliness or thoroughness of some online Web sites when it comes to finding the buzzworthy people to follow for you. and Twitter will break out a number of users you can follow based on category. the chances are good that he’s for real.com has a built-in list of suggested users (see Figure 6-2). Twitter. Impersonating someone on Twitter violates Twitter’s Terms of Service. 2nd Edition. Twitter. Thankfully. and they often get a whole slew of followers who have no idea that they’re not following the “real” celebrity — the person they think they’re following. and Twitter has shut down accounts by impersonators.
wefollow. you can add yourself to WeFollow. Additionally. blogs. Signing Up for Syndicated Material Plenty of Twitter accounts syndicate material from all kinds of online nonTwitter outlets: event listings. and so on. but ranks them as well. a number of third-party Twitter user directories have grown popular over the years. if you want to search for authors. Just click the upper-right button and follow the instructions on-screen. shown in Figure 6-3. For example.com). ranked loosely by influence. These accounts fall into a sort of gray area on Twitter: Most of them are . Figure 6-3: WeFollow: A comprehensive Twitter user list. One favorite is WeFollow (www. which not only lists popular Twitter accounts to follow. newspapers’ Web sites. you can easily find the popular and prolific users who match the kind of Twitter stream you want to cultivate. It also features the ability to sort and search for users based on tags. If you want.100 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter From here. you can type Authors on the search box on top and find all the users.
darkest secrets on Twitter’s public timeline without divulging their identities. users or organizations create a Twitter account so that the community can feed it with updates. Similar to the popular Web site PostSecret (@postsecret). SecretTweet gives Twitter users a place to share their deepest. But either way. Other Twitter accounts have popped up that aggregate tweets into short stories. Twitter users can get something off their chests and read the secrets of others. tiny stories told in 140 characters. . was developed by a fan. One of the first of these community Twitter accounts was 140Story (@140story). Interestingly.com/marvel) ✓ The New Yorker (http://twitter. sometimes anonymously. and. though. these co-authored accounts gather the content from many Twitter users.com/harpers) ✓ Marvel Entertainment (http://twitter.com/newyorker) ✓ NPR (http://twitter. SecretTweet has been called everything from addicting to brilliant to sad. in the case of news outlets such as The New York Times (@NYTimes) and CNN (@CNNBrk). Here are some news and media Twitter accounts you can check out: ✓ Harpers (http://twitter. letting Twitter really enhance its broadcasts. James Cox (@imajes) who later worked cooperatively with CNN and eventually sold it to them for an undisclosed amount. These community-created Twitter accounts can be automated (through the use of a script or bot) or moderated. Cable news outlet CNN has nailed it when it comes to using Twitter for more than just headline syndication. This aggregated stream of tweets can incorporate anything from stories to poems to confessionals.com/wired) 101 Tweeting in Unison Sometimes. @CNNBrk. Their newscasters not only use Twitter accounts to both interact with viewers and relay breaking news stories.com/nprnews) ✓ Wired News (http://twitter. but anchor Rick Sanchez (@CNNRickSanchez) fields questions from Twitter followers in real time on his on-air program. make up some of Twitter’s most-followed accounts. and the rest of the Twitter community can subscribe and follow the results. But no list of community Twitter accounts would be complete without SecretTweet (@secrettweet). CNN’s most followed account. Rick Sanchez Direct.Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter quite welcome in the site’s community. like a giant Mad-Lib.
The @shakeshack bot is regularly used to report the length of the line. To facilitate tweetups (impromptu meetings facilitated by Twitter). Lunchtime lines stretch around the Manhattan refuge for the fabled burgers and shakes. Hundreds. The @shakeshack bot then automatically retweets this message. the code for the @shakeshack bot can be found here: http://smr. me. and how to push the medium forward. a burger joint in Madison Square Park. The heart of Silicon Alley is designated by the Shake Shack. come join me for lunch 2. organize snow ball fights. This is how it works: 1. the @shakeshack bot was created. the gentleman who implemented the @shakeshack bot (see figure).102 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter Small Business. saying: Via @jschwa I’m in line. People who follow @shakeshack see the tweet and join their colleague. us/2008/04/anatomy-of-atwitter-bot. come join me for lunch 3. Here’s what Jason Schwartz (@jschwa). social media. take note. Someone (say. Big Community: NYC’s @shakeshack Small businesses wanting to use Twitter to build loyalty. . has to say about the Twitter community built by twittering fans of the Shake Shack.absono. and as part of the networking fabric of Silicon Alley (a nickname given to the area of Manhattan where a concentrated number of tech startups are located). @jschwa) decides to head to the Shake Shack and tweets @shakeshack I’m in line. For the curious and technically-inclined. if not thousands of NYC area twitterers are now more aware of the Shake Shack. who is likely close to ordering by the time they arrive. and it’s become a must-visit for Twitter enthusiasts when in NYC for meetings or pleasure. It is the favorite meeting place of NY-based tech startups to discuss business. one of New York City’s most social eateries.
Part III Twittering in High Gear .
such as third-party applications and mobile updating. In this part.I In this part . . more rewarding. we kick it up a notch. . f you’re reading this part. you’ve probably already established a bit of a presence on Twitter and have some friends and followers. and more accessible for you. We go over the tools and tricks that can make your Twitter experience more efficient. .
plus ways to be efficient. We help you figure out what tends to be more effective and what tends to not go over well on Twitter.Chapter 7 Tricks of the Twitter Gurus In This Chapter ▶ Minding your Twitter manners ▶ Adding links to your Twitter updates ▶ Exploring your Twitter activity ▶ Tweeting like a pro with shorthand codes he more you use Twitter. and all sorts of everyday Twitter users are discovering their voices on Twitter. the more you’ll notice how complex the potential uses of this deceptively simple service have become. however they have since become part of the lexicon. But. we provide an overview of protocol. Like many other social media sites. T Following Twitter Protocol Many Twitter neophytes want to know what the rules are or whether Twitter has standard protocol and etiquette. . though. Yet at the same time. and culture that have developed on Twitter as well as some hints to better enhance your Twitter. and tricks over time while you’re tweeting. Twitter is what you make of it and you are free to do your own thing.com literacy. creating a whole new culture in the process. companies. you’re going to come up with your own rules. etiquette. Celebrities. In this chapter. some insider jokes and conventions used can be confusing. Longtime users have certainly fallen into certain habits or sets of rules. Because Twitter was a favorite of Silicon Valley’s new-media elite long before it broke into the mainstream. remember. each twitterer has a slightly different way of using Twitter. Keep in mind. Twitter sprang from a close-knit group of early adopters who set the rhythm. standards.
You can access Twitter’s terms at http://twitter. belonging to an aspiring comedian pretending to be actor Christopher Walken. (We cover this a bit more in the next chapter. even conflicting. Use a third-party tool. Twitter posts and feeds get exported outside of Twitter and onto Twitter-based Web sites. But some members certainly have their opinions: ✓ Some users complain when others tweet too often. Beyond the simple regulations. pornography and explicit language. Consider this an unofficial code of conduct (although. Be polite on Twitter. you can’t spam other members or participate in activities that break any laws. But. You won’t find anything particularly surprising in them: You must be at least 13 years old to create an account and use the service. sync up your Twitter account with your Facebook account so that your tweets appear as your Facebook status message. Don’t like the contents? Turn the dial. was deleted from the system. you can’t engage in abuse or harassment. say. ✓ You may encounter confusing. The terms are actually more liberal than most Web services’ regulations. social-media sites such as Facebook. you can’t really use Twitter in a right or wrong way because no two people use it for exactly the same reasons. aren’t banned. keep in mind that you’re branching out beyond the Twitter community and culture.) . Twitter etiquette is simple: Be genuine and nondeceptive and provide value. just use Twitter how it suits you. Unsubscribe. Your Twitter community will help define your standard. Don’t take them too seriously: Twitter itself just isn’t that rigid. If you know you plan to. (This complaint is a little silly. and aggregators such as FriendFeed. Twitter has a Terms of Service (TOS) agreement that all members must adhere to or risk having their accounts suspended or deleted. advice and back-seat tweeting from the handful of people on Twitter who aren’t comfortable without rules. This policy is a contentious point in the Twitter community: Many members were upset when the @cwalken account. com/terms.) ✓ Some users take issue with strings of @replies and wonder why those conversations weren’t conducted in a private forum. they’re more like guidelines). and so on.106 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Like any other social-media company. Beyond the terms of service. but no more or less so than you’re expected to be in the real world — just keep in mind that Twitter is a public forum. Other than that. for example. do keep in mind that Twitter keeps tabs on “deceptive” activity: Twitter can and will ban accounts that impersonate celebrities or companies if those accounts don’t make it clear that they’re unofficial or parodies. whereas others complain that their contacts don’t tweet enough. blogs. for the most part.
For example. in fact. Twitter’s lexicon has evolved over time to include unique words. whether you plan to use goofy Twitter-speak or not. it can get a bit over-the-twop.prefix. Just because you see an unfamiliar term doesn’t mean it’s part of the Twitter vernacular. twinfluence. 107 Language and abbreviations Over time.” with the prefixes tw. Eventually. Others think the Twitter-specific language is fun. Many application and Web site names have adopted Twitter-speak words for products and services associated with Twitter or which tap into Twitter’s application programming interface (API) to use Twitter data. phrases.com). We purposely didn’t include in this glossary some of the nonsense words that begin with the tw.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus Although users love Twitter’s largely rule-free nature. and abbreviations that most regular users understand and recognize. some generally accepted behaviors have evolved over time. any group of people that interacts regularly falls into its own “vernacular” way of talking. it looks like baby talk — and indeed. an application that gets its data from Twitter and turns it into a report that estimates Twitter users’ power and influence. Plenty of eccentric people use Twitter. (See our point?) Not all members are fans of corny terms such as tweeple. tweetup. and beginning to use them more often may be the first sign that you’re a twitterholic! .or twi. tweeple. But new users often find these references confusing. At first. and so on. the word twinfluence was used casually to describe (no shock here) the kind of social influence that individual Twitter users had within the Twitter community. Establish dedication and credibility early on. many avid users actually find them rather annoying. it does help to know what this stuff means. Either way. it may be even more subject to it because of the 140-character limit. by knowing your way around the following Twitter customs. Right off the bat. or an easy and obvious way to delineate something as Twitter-specific. Twitter is no exception to that rule. in part. not to mention loads of subcultures and sub-communities. the slang term was used to name twInfluence (www. For Twitter terms you should be familiar with. you see a lot of puns involving the word “Twitter.added to the front: tweet. check out the glossary at the back of this book. Twitterers don’t widely use them. You can ease your transition into the culture of Twitter by getting familiar with these behaviors and speech tendencies before you first start out.
If you seek out and use relevant keywords and #hashtags. after a few of your tweets appear in the timeline and you add a few contacts to your network. you don’t just want to sit back and watch the stream flow by — you want to genuinely interact with people. hobbies. It’s not like other social networks where you’re really only expected to connect to folks you already know. Interested? Follow them.) First and foremost. All those twitterers are just getting to know you. your tweets still appear in Search. But even if you don’t @reply. we think your Twitter experience will become a lot more fruitful if you do. don’t be shy about clicking the usernames that you see (as in @replies) and writing to strangers offering your own opinion. they will. and other Twitter users can spot them. over time. the name of the game is engagement. But. often unconsciously. Then click through to the profiles of the people who wrote the tweets you find.com to look for some of the most obscure keywords related to your work. So.twitter. It may take some time through several conversations before the chatting users include you in their conversation.108 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Engaging others on Twitter On Twitter. While you sift through the Twitter conversation. or passions. Don’t worry. Use http://search. but if you’re adding to the conversation. people start to reply to your tweets. You’ll be amazed how good an idea you get of someone just by glancing at their last 20 tweets. how much is too much or too little? How often should you tweet? . after all. You have to know how to listen as much as know how to converse (this goes twice for businesses) — but it always boils down to engagement. Your early days on Twitter will probably be pretty quiet when it comes to replies and conversation. people will begin to notice you. Tweeting frequency Twitter users tend to settle into a rhythm of tweeting frequency. Whether you use Twitter for business or fun. do not be shy about finding people who share your interests. whereas others can come across as standoffish because they don’t tweet frequently. even if you don’t know them (yet). you will start to connect with others who share your interests. If you have something interesting to say. Some Twitter users are considered noisy because they tweet so much. (Okay — you don’t absolutely have to engage people on Twitter.
For example. and value-adding pace. so you don’t get to use the full 140 characters. or you plan to link to your products or posts on your personal blog. Visit one of the other shortening sites for ways to shorten URLs in advance. unobtrusive. It’s worth thinking about who you want to reach.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus A good rule when you’re starting out is to post at least four or five tweets per day. and would involve many more tweets a day than. you definitely want to keep a human voice in your Twitter stream at all times.ly). The URL shortener is a tool that was designed to manage exceptionally long URLs so that they would not “break” in e-mail and so that they’re easier to copy and paste. Link shortening has become so common that many main-stream Web sites offer their own short URLs to make it easier for people . for every link of your own that you place on Twitter. and converse. engage.gd (http://is. say. or even other tweets. a business user or someone just figuring out what they want to do with the platform.ly (http:// bit. The toughest part of including these links is getting them to fit in the 140-character limit while leaving yourself room to say something about why you’re sending the link out in the first place. so many of the links you post will be shortened for you but it’s done after the fact. Sites such as is. not at them. send out at least five tweets that inform. If conversation and engagement are your aim. A roaring chat with friends you already know is a fine use of Twitter.com) automatically shorten a link into a shorter set of numbers and letters that forwards to the original link and can cut the link’s length down by as much as 70 or 80 percent. People new to Twitter and only following a few get bowled over by frequent tweeters simply because it’s all they see on their stream. find a balance between the number of tweets that promote yourself and the number of tweets that provide value. bit. As of this writing. blog entries.gd). four or five should get you going at a good.ly by default on its Web site. In short: talk with people. 23 percent of tweets contain links. Twitter uses bit. If you’re using Twitter for your business. 109 Inserting Links into Your Tweets Virtually all Twitter users incorporate links into their tweets on a regular basis — by one estimate. too. and budurl (http://budurl. You most likely find yourself tweeting much more often than that. You can insert links to Web pages. but if you aren’t yet fully comfortable with it. You might think of this balance as an actual ratio. Twitter and services like it have heightened the need to save space when linking.
how they’re clicking on it. your Twitter followers don’t know why they should click it).html (52 characters). Most important is to remember to include a short reason for the link (otherwise. in some cases. You can then copy that link into a tweet of your own.ly and budurl. but they save precious character space for comment. Try it! http://bit. such as bit.ly/17Mw1s — which you can then use in place of the long URL (see Figure 7-1). a link to this book on Amazon. and who’s currently talking about it. this link http://nyti. Some of the most popular tweeters have large followings because they’re good at this. For example. first click the day and time at the end of the tweet itself to go to the permalink page for that tweet. such as a headline or a hook that tells them why they might want to click. retweeted your link. add a +-sign after it and bit. visit http://bit. when they clicked on it.ly’s Shorten form. place that URL into bit.110 Part III: Twittering in High Gear to refer to their sites.ly.kr/. ms/. If you want to see how that link is doing and how many clicks it’s getting. for example. and you’ll get something like this — http://bit. The New York Times. rather than to a user’s account.ms/ceAG8Z (21 characters) resolves to http://www. and Flickr. Typing @ followed by a Twitter username automatically links to that Twitter account Profile page so that you can see more about who that person is.ly will take you to an analytics dashboard.com/2010/03/31/us/31keywest. It’s also nice to give credit to a fellow tweeter by typing @username if you’re sharing someone else’s tweets or links. Short-URL analytics Shorteners. for instance. which can help adjust what you push to your network over time. the photosharing Web site. giving you a history of who’s clicking on that link. uses http://nyti. This is a real art. If you want to link specifically to one specific tweet. and their stream is enjoyable to read. It can be critical in understanding whether or not people are responding to the content you’re sharing. One nice thing about using bit. Take any URL (say. showing you how many people clicked through or. These URLs are often followed by a stream of random characters that are completely made-up.ly as your URL shortener is its built-in analytics.nytimes. also track how your link did. It’s context. uses http://flic.ly/info/17Mw1s+ .com).
Of note. especially if you’re a frequent tweeter. Some are even built into desktop and mobile Twitter applications and are unique to them (like ow.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus 111 Figure 7-1: Bit. http://is.com.tweetscan.ly analytics on your URL. gs.ly.ly. Unfortunately. and it’s worth spending a few minutes to figure out which one will work best for you.ly for HootSuite). Using Your Twitter History and Favorites If you want to access your Twitter history after you use the service for a while. But you can get your whole history from Twitter in a few ways: ✓ TweetScan (www. TweetScan only goes back to December 2007. Joined since then? You can get your entire Twitter history. . you probably want to go back farther.php): A service that can pull Twitter history for any username. check out http://cli. there are literally dozens of URL shorteners out there. http://budURL. you may find it a challenge.com/data. Beyond bit.gd. and if you’ve been on Twitter since it first hit the streets in 2006. and http://3.
such as FriendFeed (http://friendfeed. If you tweet a lot. Aggregators simply combine your Twitter feed together with any feeds you might have on other social sites. lets you do just that.com) or SocialThing (http://socialthing. .shareaholic. Shareaholic (www. Instead of using the Twitter Favorites feature. You can also keep track of some tweets by marking them as favorites with the little star icon on the Web interface. In Chapter 5.112 Part III: Twittering in High Gear ✓ Twistory (www. though. for insurance purposes. It’s kind of like double posting. but you can find the tweets that you mark in more than one way later. or FriendFeed. so be careful!) ✓ Aggregator: If you’re a new Twitter user. (And if you really just want the one tweet. which you can do much more easily by using a bookmarking service.net): A cool little application that imports your Twitter history into the Web-based Google Calendar app so that you can view your tweets like a diary. Some people even do Favorite Tweets Roundup posts on their blogs every few days. Videos on YouTube? Same thing. One of Twitter’s newer features. and Twitter’s team hasn’t said anything about creating a means to do this search. Creating Lists As you start using Twitter more frequently.com). we articulate how Lists can be a valuable tool to reign in your Twitter experience. you may notice that you’ve followed quite a few accounts and are looking for a better way to manage the content flooding through your Twitter.com). searching (http://search.twitter. you might feel overwhelmed by so many tweets crammed into such a small space. but here. This approach definitely takes some time. bookmark your favorites by using a tool such as Delicious (http://delicious. we show how Lists can help find you new people to follow.com) might be a lot easier. Do you share photos on Flickr? Then there is a feed of your pictures. You may find using an outside tool a little more inconvenient than the Favorites feature at first. Lists. save your history.com feed. ✓ Profile page: You can use the old-school way of seeing your Twitter history by going to your Twitter Profile page and clicking the More button over and over again until you see the tweet you’re looking for.com). you can have an aggregator. though your tweets disappear from Twitter’s search after a while.twistory. such as Delicious. A drawback to favoriting tweets is that you can’t search within them on Twitter.
and in the side column within your main page. That will work exactly the same way. 113 . just set your list to private. Log in. and here’s why: Whenever you List someone on a public list. some of our favorite uses for lists are to make sure the important people in our lives aren’t lost in the noise. (The Lists button is to the left of the Gear button. more personal friends who are probably the tweets that deserve your individual attention. and – presto! – your friend is now on your List. and mark it as private or public. That initial list we created was a private list. give it a name (“Friends before Twitter”). you notice not only that “Interesting People” has him listed. but you can see how other Twitter users have chosen to list him. You probably noticed that you can also create lists right from that dropdown. com/gruen) and see the people who have listed him. you see a Lists section below the Search section. In fact. you could create an “Interesting People” list and add @gruen to that list. on the other hand. their Listed count goes up by one. To add a user to your newly-created List.com feed. You can also create themed lists. and it’s a handy way to make lists on the fly. (That is. it’s a bit clunky if you’re trying to manage your friends. On the bottom. Private lists are for your eyes only: not even the people on the list know they’re on it. click the Lists icon on the right-side of the person you want to add. are accessible to everyone on Twitter. along with a notification of what that list is called. click New List. celebrities. For now.) Click the check box next to the list name. you can get a better sense of who this person is and why people have chosen to follow and list him. you might want to spend some time going through your existing Following page and categorize some of the people you’re following. and the generally prolific. For example. it’s your quieter. Nobel Laureates. But. when you browse to @gruen’s profile page (twitter. if you think he’s interesting. Public lists. Between the news agencies. say a list of TV personalities. (We go over the differences between public and private in a bit. Say you want to keep tabs on people you think are Interesting.) Now. a description (“These are my friends who I haven’t met on Twitter”). From here. Although this way works for you if you’re creating a list around a searchable criteria (like if you were building a list of microsharing not-for-profits or professional tennis players). of course. by creating lists. they’ll probably appreciate it. or Billionaires.) Click Create List and you’re taken to a page where you can search for users to add to your list. Well. Creating a list is easy. Instead. click on the Following link in your sidebar to get to the page detailing the people you follow. you can separate those out from the noise.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus One thing you might notice is that your less Internet-happy friends get lost in the wash of your Twitter.
your boss might find that hysterical (even when not intoxicated) so you need to use your best judgment. It’s on the upper-right corner of the list’s main feed. you can tweet on-location and demonstrate that you are where you say you are! One of Twitter’s newer features is the ability to add location data to your tweet. Our tweets will only reside in that list unless you explicitly follow us. (http://twitter. and Michael’s collective antics. followed by the list name. GeoLocation If you’d like. that list can be found on the user’s profile page on the side column under Lists. By clicking on the Follow this List button.” your boss may or may not approve of your listing her on that list. return to that list page and find the Unfollow link. however. Then again. you can follow that list. having been listed under relevant or interesting lists can help a user’s credibility and identity on Twitter. To unfollow a list. lists have their own profile pages and. If you create a list called “Funny while intoxicated.114 Part III: Twittering in High Gear You need not follow users to add them to lists! Just visit their profile page and find the List button. you could follow the @dummies/authors list. like users. Following lists Whenever anyone creates a public list. She might be inclined to block you and your list from following her. com/dummies/authors). Add them accordingly. You won’t. if a member of a list has protected his tweets. Additionally. automatically follow each one of us individually or collectively. can be followed. When choosing whether or not to follow someone. This is because. you’ll need to follow him and get authorization to follow his tweets in order to get his updates on the list page. and you might burn a bridge in the process. it’s best you keep your list names innocuous. For example. and a link to that page will show up under your Lists section in your own landing page’s sidebar. followed by a forward slash. Notice that those lists are constructed strangely: they contain the user’s name. if you wanted to follow Laura. For these reasons. Although it’s not terribly exciting while you’re sitting at . like users. Leslie.
add your location information to your tweet. you’ll be able to click on the location part of the tweet and see the map. (We cover third-party applications in Chapter 8.twitter. com/ dummies/ status/ 11329 511402 .twitter.) On the bottom of the tweet in Figure 7-2. Twitter mobile clients (and the mobile. how it happened. and where it happened. For example. the location information will be embedded into the tweet data.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus your desk and using the Web version of Twitter. like a timestamp.com and sign-in. Immediately under the Tweet prompt. the mobile checkin application Foursquare (foursquare. Alternatively. notice an option to turn on location information. visit mobile. 115 Figure 7-2: A locationbased Tweet. as shown. When Foursquare forwards that information to post onto Twitter.com/dummies/ status/11329511402).com site) can. at your option. http:// twitter. If you visit that tweet’s URL (http://twitter.com) lets you tell both Foursquare friends and Twitter followers where you are at any time you want to let them know. Twitter tells you some information about that tweet: when it happened. If you have an iPhone. there are a number of third-party applications that use the Twitter API and can report on information.
you see a page to subscribe to that feed. First. Your Feeds. Navigate to your Twitter Home screen. Click the RSS Feed of @dummies’s Updates link. If you want to access one single RSS feed with the tweets of everyone that you follow: 1. To access the RSS feed: 1.116 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Erasing your tracks If you find yourself needing to get rid of your location information for whatever reason. Good luck. Find the Delete All Location Information link and click it. but we want to introduce a couple of different feeds that you can access and subscribe to right from Twitter. 2. 3. Navigate to a user’s Twitter page. every Twitter account has an RSS feed associated with it. Click the Settings navigation link along the top. It may take up to 30 minutes for Twitter to extricate yourself from your location history. You can find this link near the end of the content on the right sidebar. Scroll down to Tweet Location. Depending on what RSS reader you use.com/home. Everyone’s Feeds We talk more about RSS feeds and what you can do with them in Chapter 8. 2. @dummies. My Feeds. Twitter can strip the location information out of all your tweets. You gain access to that user’s feed.com. Either click the Twitter logo in the upper-left corner or the Home link in the upper-right corner of any Twitter page.com/dummies. you need to log into the API (see Figure 7-3). 3. To wipe all location-data from your tweets: 1. or if you’re already logged in. navigate to http://twitter. . is at http://twitter. Our account. If you’ve protected your updates.
We go over the more interesting points of what you can do with Twitter feeds in Chapter 8. Twitter has included a number of shorthand codes that you can use to perform almost any action directly from the What . In fact. (Scroll down until you find it.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus 117 Figure 7-3: Logging into the API to access the RSS feed of a protected user. Deciphering Twitter Shorthand Code The more you use Twitter. You can find this link near the end of the content on the right sidebar. every page that has some sort of update stream has an RSS update feed associated with it. including porting them over to an RSS reader so that you can view a stream without having to visit Twitter. 2. Alternatively. if your browser supports it. Click the RSS Feed link. the more you’re going to want to find quicker ways to do things.) The RSS logo appears nearby. you can click the RSS icon inside the address bar in your browser to access the feed for that page.com. Now. you can access an RSS feed of updates for everyone you follow. Conveniently.
118 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Are You Doing? box. Best bet? Use the actual message link on a person’s page to send them a direct message. Twitter’s cofounder and CEO. Some make heavy use of this while traveling and at events and find it much easier to coordinate on the fly. you can quickly add a twitterer to your feed just by sending an update to Twitter. At some point. you type in the What Are You Doing? box: D dummies I am really enjoying Twitter For Dummies! Thanks for the help! Many users opt to have direct messages sent straight to their cellphones via SMS and/or e-mail. just in case. These codes are particularly useful when you’re working from a mobile phone by sending your tweets to 40404 (or your local short code) using the Twitter SMS (Short Message Service) gateway. D – direct message You can send a direct message right from the Update box by using the following form: D username message In this message. It’s smart to be particularly careful about sending sensitive information via direct messages. be careful when using shorthand code! Making a typo when you want to send a direct (private) message can send an update to everyone who follows you. you might accidentally share something with everyone that you intended only a particular user to see. so you can frequently use direct messages to reach someone instantly even if you don’t have a cell number or if you know that he’s an active Twitter user who may not be online at the moment. username is the username of the person whom you want to direct message. F – follow No matter what application or interface you use to tweet. and message is any message that you want to send. As we talk about in Chapter 3. Just send this message to Twitter: F ev Alternatively. Say that you decide to follow the updates of Evan Williams (@ev). So. you can type the word follow to do the exact same thing: follow ev . if you want to tell us how great this book is.
You can use the On command to turn device updates on for your account. ✓ To silence updates and direct messages to your cellphone: Send the update off a second time. you can favorite that tweet by sending an update to Twitter: fav dummies If you’re receiving updates on your cellphone. On/Off The commands On and Off control whether or not your entire account will receive device updates (SMS texts on your phone). The difference between this command and all other commands is that there is no space between it and the username of the person you want to reach. Fav – favorite a tweet If something someone just tweeted made you laugh (say. 119 @ – reply We cover how to reply to users in Chapters 3 and 5. To turn them Off. When you follow them using the Web site Follow button or most Twitter clients.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus When you add someone using the follow or f command. sending fav by itself adds the last update you received to your Favorites tab on your Home screen. but the @ symbol is really a shorthand for referencing another Twitter user. you connect only via the Web site. you both follow them and opt in to receive their individual device updates (only when your account is set to receive device updates). you can use the Off command twice: ✓ To silence updates to your cellphone: Send Twitter the update off. not also via SMS device updates. Want to say something to Leslie? Write @leslie hiya! Twitter makes sure that the message ends up in Leslie’s Mentions tab. You will not receive any device updates until you turn them back on using On. . our @dummies account).
only message. Nudge Do you have a friend who hasn’t updated in a while? Send her a message asking her to let everyone know what she’s doing: nudge username Nudge is a funny little feature. or doing whatever it does when it receives a text message. Plenty of active users of Twitter — probably most — have never used nudge. vibrating. and quite possibly only for people who have specifically signed up for your device updates. . But frequently you can see nudge and still nothing at all happens when you click it. Stats If you ever want to know how many followers you have and how many users you’re following. Definitely don’t try the Follow All command unless you already have unlimited texting. Look at the Twitter Profile page for anyone that follows you. If you can’t see nudge. But what if you tried following the device updates of every single person you’re connected to on Twitter? The command is simply follow all If you’re following a large number of people who update frequently. from everyone Getting Twitter updates as SMS messages right on your phone has its advantages and disadvantages. Twitter sends you a text message with your stats in it. which can be cool. For one thing. . your mobile phone might never stop beeping. send the update stats. Sometimes message and nudge links are both visible. If you sent stats from your cellphone. So. other times.120 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Receiving SMS updates on your phone . in that it works only for people who receive their tweets as SMS updates. the person obviously can’t be nudged. it lets you choose to remain much more closely up-to-date with a small subset of your Twitter connections. If you’re online. Twitter displays a message at the top of the screen letting you know. Web celebrity iJustine (@iJustine) does this to find her real friends among the people she follows. don’t sweat it if it doesn’t make sense to you. Obviously .
of course. how long she’s been on Twitter (since April 2007). and her current bio from her Profile page (http://twitter. but it doesn’t unfollow the username account. Laura’s). the Off username command stops device updates. At least. On/Off username turns device updates on and off for individual users. Leave Leave seems like it would be the opposite of follow. those text messages that some twitterers receive on their phones. However. it does not unfollow that person on Twitter. Whois If you want to get someone’s profile information quickly (say. already displayed. . 121 Get The Get command allows you to quickly view the last update from a user. but it’s not.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus this makes a lot more sense than viewing stats on the Web page. On/Off username Not to be confused with On/Off (see the earlier section). Leave username simply turns off the individual’s device updates. we find this example particularly ironic as nobody really “gets” him. Want to see Michael’s latest tweet? Send to Twitter get gruen And Twitter will report back with Michael’s last tweet. use the Whois command: whois pistachio Twitter sends you a message that contains the user’s proper name (Laura Fitton).com so that you’re following their updates. not quite. On will also connect you to people on Twitter. Like leave. Stats was a little more meaningful with Track because it also reminded you what words you were tracking.com/pistachio). where they are. Like follow.
. . even if they didn’t follow the person posting the update. For example. These commands are probably not the best options to quiet your phone.twitter. At time of print. Of note. sent to your Twitter Home screen. no matter who mentioned it. Codes may come. They opt your cellphone number out of Twitter altogether. if you were a Battlestar Galactica fan. you may still see some older Twitter users lamenting the loss of the Track feature. and codes may go .com invite 212 555 1212 Twitter sends either an e-mail or SMS to that person to let her know that you’ve invited her to use Twitter. If used. Invite Do you want to invite someone to Twitter? Send the Invite command. They’re handy though if you accidentally lock your phone into a separate account by sending join to 40404 after you already have an account.com/forums/10711/entries/14020 has the most accurate list of Twitter commands. you’ll literally have to log into your Twitter account and redo the steps to add your cellphone to your account.122 Part III: Twittering in High Gear In other words. Because Twitter is a living application. On/Off username has no unique functionality that is different from Follow/Leave. Quit and Stop Quit and Stop discontinue all service between Twitter and your cellphone. The Track series of commands enabled users to receive updates containing a keyword the user was tracking. it has commands that come and go. . http://help. For a recent list of Twitter commands. browse to Twitter’s Help forums by clicking the help link at the top of every Twitter page. followed by her e-mail address or mobile phone number: invite friend@example. you’d send the update track Battlestar Galactica to get every mention of that show.
showing the results for all mentions of the term you want to track. or categories. A screen appears. timeframes. click Advanced Search and add parameters like sender. recipient. Browse to Twitter Search. you’d rather stick to using the Web interface. products. We discuss this in Chapter 5. From the Search home page. optional keywords. You can scroll to the bottom of any Twitter page and click the Search link or just go to http://search. See the next chapter for more details on using those. 123 . but you can still get the scoop by using Twitter Search in a similar way: 1. however. 2. required keywords. you can use the built-in saved searches for up-to-the-minute tracking on your favorite topics.twitter. Enter the search term you want to track in the text box and click Search. You have the option of subscribing to an RSS feed for the search terms — a great idea if you’re a business user and want to monitor mentions of your name. many third-party clients including this functionality directly within their offering. Search offers advanced features to fine-tune what you want to keep track of. brands. If.com. Although Track would still be a nice feature to have. Remember.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus Unfortunately. Twitter removed the Track feature. and even “emotional sentiment” of the tweets you want to see.
124 Part III: Twittering in High Gear .
com In This Chapter ▶ Taking Twitter on the go ▶ Sending your tweets through e-mail and to RSS ▶ Using third-party Twitter applications ▶ Using Open Authentication ▶ Sharing tweets on social networks and blogs ▶ Tweeting even when you’re unavailable by using auto-tweets ou can easily get attached to Twitter simply because once you really get started. from tweets about specific neighborhoods on RentWiki (www. and you’ll see Twitter has become a staple on popular social-networking sites and a standard sidebar feature on many blogs.com. Look around the Web. you’re bound to discover many interesting and useful things it can do for you. you can discover it in all sorts of useful places.com. you’re bound to discover ways to make it even more useful to you.Chapter 8 Twitter Minus Twitter. you can almost do everything you want with Twitter without needing to visit Twitter.com) to live widgets on major media sites like ABC. and friends you connect with on Twitter — everywhere. or onto your mobile device. we show you how you can use Twitter without having to browse to Twitter. Y . In this chapter. as well as @barackobama staffers reiterating his important points live through his Twitter account. Because of the many ways that users can access and share Twitter on the Web. Mobile applications and text messages give on-the-go users the ability to update their timeline and access their network.rentwiki. You can literally take Twitter — and the information. ideas. E-mail and RSS feeds also allow you to pipe your Twitter stream into your favorite RSS reader or e-mail.com during President Obama’s 2009 and 2010 State of the Union addresses. When you realize how you can access Twitter from anywhere. Because the Twitter platform is so flexible.
you want to first make sure that your cellphone plan encompasses unlimited texting. First. To receive tweets from your contacts on your cellphone: 1. For more information. Most Twitter users find that they can handle between 10 and 20 peoples’ tweets being sent to their phone before the constant incoming text stream becomes overwhelming. . click on the Mobile tab. You have to manually verify that you aren’t going over the Twitter limit because otherwise. think long and hard about how noisy you want your phone to be each day. even power users like iJustine (@iJustine) have discovered that they can take advantage of SMS tweets to their phone by being really selective about whose actual tweets they get via SMS. Twitter cuts off your SMS tweet at 140 characters. It’s not all-or-nothing. Luckily. Open your own Home screen and. In addition to sending tweets as SMS messages from your phone. Otherwise. and iPhone smartphones Literally dozens of applications come out for Twitter every couple of months. and to find the latest Twitter tools.com) if you have a Web browser on your cellphone ✓ Downloadable applications for BlackBerry. you can easily use SMS to update Twitter on the go. Check before you enable SMS updates! After you make sure that you can afford your mobile texting plan. you can receive your contacts’ tweets on your phone via SMS. check out Laura’s Twitter directory and marketplace oneforty (www. Windows Mobile. Setting this up takes a little more work. but Twitter’s maximum is 140 characters. You can use Twitter on your mobile device in three ways: ✓ SMS (text messages) to and from 40404 (or your country’s short code) ✓ Twitter’s mobile Web site (http://m. (Turn to Chapter 2 for instructions on how to associate your cellphone with your Twitter account.oneforty. Android.126 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Tweeting with Your Cellphone Many twitterers use the service almost exclusively on their mobile phones.twitter. Via text messaging Although text messaging (or SMS) is the most basic way to access Twitter via your cellphone. your monthly bill may end up skyrocketing.com).) One caveat: The maximum length for a standard text message is 160 characters. on the Settings page.
Twitterrific (http://iconfactory. and was recently purchased by Twitter). family. For other options. Green means on.aspx/ Public/MobileApps/Twitula35.com.php?id=1047). ✓ For Android Devices: Twitroid (www.uk/page.live. You can find several popular applications — these are just a sampling of what’s available for various devices: ✓ For iPhone: Tweetie 2 (www.stone. or PDA that has Web capabilities.co.twitter. BlackBerry. Go to each of those Twitter users’ profiles and select (toggle) the mobile updates button to turn their notifications on or off. TwitToday (http://dalelane. directly under the username’s icon on his or her profile page.com/seesmic_mobile/android) seem to be the favorites. limit notifications to direct messages. or a number of other third-party mobile Web sites like Hahlo.com). . 2.com/tweetie-iphone. http://m.com/products/openbeak). or opt-out entirely of text notifications.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter. ✓ For BlackBerry: Blackberry has released its own Twitter client. 3. You can also download applications that allow you to use Twitter as an application on your phone. clients — whatever works for you. and OpenBeak (www.com) and Seesmic (seesmic.CAB). and gray means off. accessible via App World or on their website (http://blackberry.com/software/twitterrific). ✓ For Windows Mobile: PocketTwit (http://code. pretty much the way you use Twitter.infinitum software.net).orangatame. Twobile (www. The mobile updates button is a gray or green circle with a mobile phone on it. These people can be anyone — friends. TinyTwitter (http://tinytwitter.com/ twitter.com/self. You can also send a tweet to turn individuals’ message notifications on or off (see Chapter 7). Twitter allows you to take updates on your phone.atebits.skydrive. we’ve liked Blackbird (http://dossy. influencers. 4. TinyTwitter (www. org/twitter/blackbird).tinytwitter.com/twobile). 127 Via smartphones or PDAs If you have a smartphone.google.).com on your computer. TwitterFon (http://twitterfon. Twitula (http:// cid-eda3c1275909727a. Decide how you want to receive mobile updates.com Find the section marked Device Updates. Twittelator (www.twitroid. you can use Twitter’s mobile Web site. Make a list of people whose tweets you really want to receive directly as SMS messages on your phone. com).com/ Twittelator).com/p/ pocketwit).
you may make it easy for people to find you or learn where you live. Those e-mails then wait for you to process more efficiently in batches. on location. Location! Location! Location! One great advantage to becoming a mobile Twitter user is the ability to livetweet from wherever you are. To the best of our knowledge. be sure that you remember that your digital footprint is telling a story about you and your daily habits! So. file. and though location-based technology isn’t pin-point accurate yet. 2. how often you tweet. If you don’t have the time or the need to follow back your new followers right away. These e-mails save quite a bit of time and hassle — you don’t have to try to remember who followed you and when. click Settings at the top of the screen. many at a time. how big your network is. when it’s convenient for you. and so forth. See Chapter 7 for more information on the Twitter mobile site. Setting up a mail filter to segment those notifications outside of your normal e-mail inbox can be really useful. so please check the user guides for each application on how to opt-in.128 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Play around with the applications’ options a bit until you find one you like best. Select the Notices tab. Using Twitter through Your E-Mail When someone new starts following you. You can also set up your Twitter account so that direct messages are sent to your e-mail inbox: 1. Adding location to your tweets is a fun and useful feature. Twitter sends you an e-mail that contains a link so that you can check out that user’s profile right away to see whether you want to follow him back. each application lets you opt-in to this service. . Many Twitter clients for mobile — including the mobile. The Settings screen appears. use whatever options your e-mail client (or Web service) provides to search.com site for iPhone — allow for locationbased information to be sent along with your tweets. They’re all a little bit different. On your Home page. just be careful. and they have varying advantages based on how you use Twitter. When you’re tweeting your location. or tag certain messages received.twitter.
check the Email When I Receive a New Direct Message check box. shown in Figure 8-2. Most modern e-mail applications. some developers have used the API to come up with e-mail clients for Twitter.com 3. you can much more easily retrieve and find a direct message that you receive. replies.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter. . topify. and Twittermail at TwitterCounter. 129 Figure 8-1: Topify offers enhanced Twitter notifications and e-mailbased replies. it has no mechanism that allows you to send updates.) To work around this limitation. Although Twitter can send you e-mails. allow you to search through your mail. shown in Figure 8-1. By always having a copy in your e-mail inbox. or direct messages directly via e-mail. Otherwise there is no way to search your direct messages.com). Even if you’re receiving direct notifications through Twitter and your mobile phone. you may also want to get them by e-mail.com [or mobile Twitter] where you can send Twitter info.com (http://twittercounter. Both of these Web applications enable you to interact with users and update Twitter directly from your e-mail address. Two of our favorites include Topify (www.com/pages/twittermail). which can be a problem. Next to Direct Text Emails. (But they do provide a link in the e-mail that you can click to open pages at Twitter. including Webmail software.
easy-to-read format (called feeds).130 Part III: Twittering in High Gear As with many third-party Web applications. .com. but integrates Twitter with your e-mail inbox. news stories. RSS isn’t a Web site or a Web page: It’s a raw data feed for the content on a Web page or Web site. Topify and Twittermail ask for your Twitter username and password. and multimedia — in a standard. but any site that has live and updating content. just don’t use it! Luckily. can use RSS. If you don’t think you can trust a site with your credentials. Figure 8-2: Twittermail looks like Twitter. including Twitter. you can use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to pull in your Twitter stream like it’s a blog. You often find RSS on blogs and news sites. Really Simple Syndication is a format for delivering dynamic Web content — blogs. OAuth holds the promise of letting you give third-party applications limited permission to function with your account without giving away your password and the ability to access everything about your account. Swimming Your Twitter Stream with RSS Feeds If you want to keep tabs on your Twitter network without logging into Twitter.
To read direct messages. An RSS reader. Each user’s timeline has its own RSS feed. By the way. Within these applications. and more. Firefox.google. newsgator. the gentleman credited with inventing RSS is on Twitter! Say hello to Dave Winer (@davewiner). or another method. RSS is a fundamental part of Twitter because it allows users to share and access timelines from virtually anywhere on the Web. you subscribe to an RSS feed. and your @username page — but not for your Direct Messages page. such as Google Reader or Bloglines. You can obtain an individual RSS feed address for your Home screen (the Twitter stream of all your friends). It turns out you can accomplish a lot by using this application: . text messages. You can then add the feed address to your RSS reader of choice. which you can read via an RSS reader.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter.com) is a third-party application you can use to send RSS feeds to Twitter so that each item in the feed “posts” as a tweet.com/reader). you can use that smartphone to get Twitter while you’re on the go. the Everyone page (the public timeline of all Twitter users). refer to them. Also. as well as through desktop applications and mobile devices. To grab the RSS feed for your Home screen. and later versions of Internet Explorer) have RSS reading capabilities built in. click the RSS button in the bottom-left of the sidebar and follow the specific instructions for your RSS reader.com Most modern browsers (such as Safari. catch up on many at once. but you likely want to use a dedicated application or Web site to handle your feeds because then you can go back later and search them. such as Newsgator’s NetNewsWire or FeedDemon (www. If you hover over the RSS icon in your browser (depending on which browser you use.com) or Google Reader (www. you have to rely on e-mail. Twitter Search has RSS capabilities built in. 131 Grabbing RSS feeds If you have a smartphone that has RSS capabilities. which you can then read. the location of this icon varies). aggregates RSS feeds. it also displays the feed address. You can pull any search that you perform on Twitter Search into an RSS feed directly from the site. which allows you to access your favorite Web content within a single destination and keep up with frequently updated sites. Sending RSS feeds back to Twitter Twitter feed (http://twitterfeed.
we maintain a link blog of some of the best articles we can find about the business use of Twitter. too). and ideas simply by following a Twitter stream.yahoo.com/touchbaseblog to track. tag. If you’re running an event and want everyone who plans to attend that event to be able to send a message to everyone else.touchbaseblog. and then publish the stream to its own language-specific Twitter account by using Twitter feed. But the entire world of Twitter is much more complex because its founders created a way for developers outside of the Twitter team to develop tools for their service. ✓ Create and share a link blog. That way. you can actually pull in a Twitter stream. you can have Twitter feed pull in the RSS of your blog and send the title of the post and a link to Twitter (posting it as a tweet from your account). Using Third-Party Services Twitter itself is extremely basic: 140-character updates. articles. nothing more. business users of Twitter can easily access up-to-date case studies. or native speakers will wonder why the writing is so awkward! Limit the number of times that you have to feed send messages to Twitter so that you don’t send too many tweets and irritate your followers. and we direct the RSS for that Delicious account to @touchbase on Twitter (along with a feed to our http:// www. You may find this feature particularly useful if you update your blog frequently. ✓ Re-tweet hashtags. If you have a blog and want to promote each new post by using your Twitter account. . automatically translate it into a number of different languages. search that hashtag on http://search. Just be sure to mention on that account bio that it’s automated. This one is advanced.com and then grab the RSS feed from the Twitter search results page and feed it into the event’s account.com/pipes).twitter. Note: This will work for any search term.132 Part III: Twittering in High Gear ✓ Announce new blog posts. best practices.delicious. See the Pistachio Consulting account @ touchbase (for our blog and link blog) for a good example of being upfront about RSS-fed Twitter accounts. and share these articles. We use www. At Pistachio Consulting. Now everyone at the event can follow your single event account to see all the hashtagged tweets being shared. but if you want to reach an international audience by sending your tweets in another language and you’re comfortable playing with advanced tools like Yahoo! Pipes (http://pipes. You should also mention in the bio for the account if it is heavily — or completely — automated. Be creative! ✓ Translate tweets automatically.com posts.
a third-party application could look at your DMs. More on this later in this chapter.com An application program interface (API) is basically a set of programming instructions and standards that developers can use to access a software application such as Twitter. Your options for third-party applications that help you use Twitter grow and change constantly. and other online services already allow you to use open authentication.twhirl. or to Web apps in general. Facebook. but after you start getting followers into the hundreds.com) ✓ Twitterrific (http://iconfactory.digsby. and you should always be very careful about giving any password to anyone.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter. Basecamp by 37Signals. When a company like Twitter opens their API. Both users and developers reap the benefits of this API in the form of fun new toys that let Twitter do even more cool stuff. good news is here.com) . Flickr. OAuth allows you to authorize a thirdparty Web site or application to essentially log in as you and perform actions on your behalf without ever having your username or password. Twitter opened up its service by creating an application programming interface (API). But you still need to be cautious: Some third-party apps do ask that you log into Twitter by using your username and password. If you’re concerned about allowing third-party services to have your username and password. no one yet has had to deal with a major scandal in which a Twitter app turned out to be a password-stealing scam. Before you hand over your information.com 133 APIs: The key to twittering off of Twitter.org) ✓ TweetDeck (www. If you’re new to Twitter. Developers who use Twitter’s API can’t access private data. In mid-2009. Twitter released something called Open Authentication (OAuth). you can have some serious difficulty keeping track of your network without a little help. make sure that the app in question is reputable. you may wonder whether APIs raise security concerns. With your password. here are some of the current favorites: ✓ Twhirl (www. but some very real security breaches have occurred. You can easily follow your network on the Twitter Web site when you have only 50 followers. they allow other developers to look at their application’s code and make new products that complement or expand the original application.tweetdeck. which allows third-party developers to have access to some of Twitter’s code. thankfully. such as your password or direct messages.com/software/twitterrific) ✓ Digsby (www. These new creations are called third-party applications. Arguably the best-known third-party applications built on Twitter are designed to make keeping up with your network easier.
Some avid Twitter users choose their third-party apps based on those apps’ compatibility with other social-media services that some twitterers also use. but finding the best ones remains a problem.134 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Twitter used to provide a short list of third-party applications right on its Web site at http://twitter. Third-party applications such as Twhirl and Twitterrific provide more complex. which is why Laura created oneforty (www. @replies.tv). The Twitter fan wiki also attempts to index the growing ecosystem of applications. a free program that many of the applications are built on.friendfeed. Also. they can now easily get into your e-mail. in mid-2009. There are many reasons why you’d want to do this: ✓ Manage multiple twitter accounts from one login screen ✓ Have your blog auto-tweet new blog posts from your blog ✓ Automatically backup your tweets .com). Generally. and other sites built on the Twitter API.com) and 12Seconds (http://12seconds. Twitter unrolled Open Authentication. but it is no longer. However. stream of friends’ tweets. be honest: How many of you used the same password for your Twitter account as your E-mail account? It’s a bad idea. such as FriendFeed (www. many third-party applications have cropped up to make your life easier. We cover these third-party tools in depth in Chapter 9.com/downloads. Air also downloads automatically. when you choose to download an app that requires Adobe Air. services. customizable ways to sort through your Twitter network. the site owners and operators can then do anything they want with your user account. Some of these applications requested your Twitter username and password to operate. Thankfully. Open Authentication – OAuth As Twitter has grown in popularity. that sort of usage paradigm has huge security implications: You have to really trust the sites you give that kind of information to: With login information. Most of the downloadable third-party applications that you can use to view Twitter on your desktop require an additional download called Adobe Air. and direct messages. because if someone has your login information to Twitter. which allows you to authorize applications to use Twitter on your behalf. as well as update your tweets.oneforty.
Navigate to your Settings page and then the Connections tab. letting them know your status and what you’re up to on a daily basis. You can use a badge to quickly and easily share Twitter with people outside the service.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter. Twitter offers a Badges page at http://twitter. Facebook. Twitter itself is a social network. 1. You see which applications have access to data in your Twitter stream.com/goodies/widgets. Twitter updates the badge each time you send a tweet. FriendFeed. Click on Revoke Access under the Connection to remove their permissions permanently (until you say it’s okay for them to be re-authenticated).com) to forward on your location to your friends ✓ Donate your status to a not-for-profit to help with their promotional campaigns You can revoke an application’s permissions at any time. but you can also pull your Twitter presence out onto the rest of the Web by using social-networking widgets (some of which are powered by RSS) and a few other nifty tweaks. you still ought to trust them before you give them access to your account. applications that have access to your Twitter account are able to do whatever they want. and LinkedIn. which is also compatible with blog templates on platforms such as Blogger and WordPress so that your blog readers can see what you’re up to and connect with you on Twitter. . Ning. where you can go to customize the look and feel of your badge for each network. After you put the badge code into your social-networking Profile page.com ✓ Interface with an application like Foursquare (foursquare. Even with OAuth. This page also gives you instructions about how to embed the badge code. If you’re a MySpace user. as shown in Figure 8-3. And — you guessed it — you can put your tweets on social networks. 2. Twitter makes a badge (or widget) that you can embed right onto your Profile page. for example. 135 Sharing Tweets All Around the Web Twitter’s a far-reaching service. Social networks are those sites online where people can go to meet and stay in touch with new and old friends and colleagues. Although OAuth makes it easier to authenticate third-party applications with your Twitter experience. Some of the social networks you may use already include MySpace.
136 Part III: Twittering in High Gear If you prefer. the most popular social network in the States. it’s not a bad idea to only share some of your tweets with your Facebook friends. in addition to Twitter. .fm (www. which lets you choose to either display a badge on your profile or have your Twitter updates set as your status message on Facebook. com widget on a blog. Because some people on Facebook get confused when they see a lot of tweets out of context. This service saves you the trouble of logging into each site separately. Use these services with caution! Figure 8-3: You can put the Twitter. You can share your tweets by using a special tag (see the Facebook Twitter app for instructions) in your tweets to designate which ones to also re-post to Facebook. such as MySpace and Facebook. so please see the help pages on those respective sites for more information.com) allow you to send the same tweet or update to many social networks. install the Twitter app on Facebook (http://facebook. however.com/twitter). You can. but it can get impersonal and alienate your followers. MySpace and LinkedIn make it really easy to do.ping. Services such as Ping.fm) and HelloTxt (www. all at the same time. doesn’t let you embed code onto profiles. Facebook. MySpace and LinkedIn can connect with your Twitter account using OAuth and synchronize status messages between the services.hellotxt.
com). You can autotweet by using one of a number of third-party applications built for that purpose.com 137 Auto-Tweeting Auto-tweeting is exactly what it sounds like: automated tweets. you may find TweetLater useful if you’re going on vacation or plan to be off the grid for some other reason. but these auto-tweet applications apply the API for a different purpose. in our opinion. You can schedule a post or two while you’re away from your computer. announcements you know about in advance and can plan for. marketers use these applications.” earlier in this chapter). defeats the purpose of the “What are you doing?” question). are also essentially automatically tweeting for you.” earlier in this chapter. .socialoomph. Mostly. and some Twitter users don’t like them because they undermine the spontaneity of Twitter by having things pre-scheduled (which. However.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter. Some auto-tweet applications. Services in the section “Sending RSS feeds back to Twitter. allow you to schedule tweets in advance. such as SocialOomph (www. It’s also useful for businesses. just to check in and remind your Twitter network that you may be out of touch. These third-party applications use the same API as the Twitter readers (which we talk about in the section “Using Third-Party Services.
138 Part III: Twittering in High Gear .
Chapter 9 Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem In This Chapter ▶ Using tools to enrich your Twitter experience ▶ Finding programs that make using Twitter easy ▶ Playing around on Twitter with games and memes witter is a useful tool on its own. pages. (www. even stark.oneforty. T . it remains extremely simple. chosen not to implement. Twitter is a living application and community. improve. In this chapter. as a result. Twitter itself is constantly evolving and changing — from design facelifts to new features to changes in how the back-end technology works. and static. we introduce many of the third-party tools that enrich the service.com). or code. Conventions and third-party tools have popped up to fill in functionality that Twitter may have missed. extending far beyond what Twitter itself controls. You can find a rich toolset online to enhance and personalize your own Twitter experience. that it’s very hard to capture the vast and dynamic Twitter ecosystem in these few. We’d like to note. but by design. The Twitter team pays close attention to how people interact with the system and what those users want to do with it. The daunting challenge of writing a book chapter to direct people to the best tools and services is a significant reason for the very existence of Laura’s oneforty inc. The folks who created it wanted to make Twitter a platform for users to build on. Enterprising and creative software developers. in its functionality. so they opened up Twitter’s API (application program interface). Because the long-term success of Twitter depends completely on a healthy base of users generating a regular stream of content. or intentionally left for other developers to handle. and enhance. As a result. the management obviously wants to do their best to keep Twitter on its toes. can create applications that work with Twitter to offer even more compelling features and ways to make use of the dynamic system. to the public. though.
So although the Summize name is a thing of the past. The powers that be at Twitter noticed. even after you click the Search button.com and the book’s official Web site at www. services. and more. When Twitter Search finds a new search result. You can search Twitter many.140 Part III: Twittering in High Gear By the time you read this book. applications. Twitter Search is a powerful and important part of the Twitter experience. and other tools and products will be built out onto the Twitter ecosystem. a link appears at the top of your Twitter Search results telling you how many new . Finding Interesting Twitter Talk with Search Tools With so many conversations going on every day on Twitter. find data about what’s trendy and buzzworthy up to the second. of new mash-ups.twitterfordummies. a powerful search engine that trawls through the enormous volume of public tweets in real time. if not hundreds. many ways. http://search.com for up-to-date guidance on how to find the best and latest tools. Twitter acquired Summize and began a slow process of incorporating it into Twitter itself.com/ advanced/.oneforty. or you can run a basic search by using the search box on the sidebar on your Twitter Home screen. Twitter Search isn’t static: It keeps searching for your query. An advanced search tool is available at its own Web address. you can track people and topics. dozens. Seeing the value in Summize’s application. Please check out www. but here are three noteworthy things for you to know: ✓ Twitter Search (integrated into all pages of Twitter.com) ✓ TweetScoop and TwitScoop ✓ Hashtags Twitter Search Summize. renaming it Twitter Search. how can you manage to find the ones that are relevant to you? You can use search applications to manage your interactions with Twitter.twitter. emerged in 2008 and soon became the go-to tool for searching Twitter. as shown in Figure 9-1.
Twitter will let you know that more tweets with the relevant trending topic have come up since you first clicked the search. 141 Figure 9-1: Find what you need by using Twitter’s search engine. but it’s extremely useful when news is breaking. fine-tune your search by word.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem matches for your search term have appeared since you last hit the Refresh button on your browser. or you’re following a live event. Just click a trending topic to see what we mean. locations. or you may find no results at all! Here’s more on how to use Advanced Search: 1. A new page appears that contains a fill-in-the-blank interface to help you search for the information and people you want to find. or keywords. Something else that makes Twitter Search so useful is how specific you can get with Advanced Search. In the Words panel. From the Twitter Search page. Keep in mind. . you’re better off using only a couple of advanced search settings at a time. 2. click the Advanced Search link located below the text box. Click on the notification and the new tweets will load. This may not seem like a big deal. You can fine-tune searches by usernames. You’ll notice that with more popular topics.
specify whether you want to search by user. In the Attitudes panel. (Hint: Shorten that URL. ✓ Keep the Search window open to watch as new results come in or subscribe to the RSS feed for the search to monitor it longer term. In the Other panel. 4. (The Persistent label off to the right of the Languages drop-down menu just means that the language you select will remain your Advanced Search default until you select a new one. Twitter hashtags (which we talk about in the section “Hashtags. It’s not perfect. Click the Search button.) 3.” later in this chapter). These options search for natural language clues about the tweet that imply whether it’s positive or negative. in the Places panel.) . Your search results appear. 6. or even set your Advanced Search defaults to all or one of 18 different languages. the exact phrase you input. which appears both at the top and bottom of the Advanced Search page. as well as by date. ✓ You can also share the search results by selecting the Twitter These Results option on the Search page or by copying and pasting the search URL from your browser bar. or search for tweets that ask a question. select whether you want to search for “positive” or “negative” tweets. You can search tweets that come from or reference a certain username. specify whether you want to search for tweets that have links. Here are a few tips to keep in mind about Search: ✓ Remember Search is a living thing. 7. like watching it over time. 5. For example. you might search only tweets of users who enter their location as a given city. If you use Twitter to improve customer relations for your business or a client. subscribing to it. You can also limit how many results are returned per page. but it can make rooting out negative or positive feedback much easier. Enter information if you want to search by location or distance. many times you’ll want to do something with it. In the People panel. the Attitudes panel search can really help you find certain types of feedback. or sharing it with others. of course. or it will be difficult to tweet.142 Part III: Twittering in High Gear You can specify that a search match all or none of the words in your query. Having fine-tuned a useful search.
fashion) and for emerging information of any kind. 2. politics. which can be really useful and is mandatory if you’re using Twitter to keep tabs on your brand. accidents. sports. shown in Figure 9-2. You can access TwitScoop by creating a new column with TwitScoop activated: 1.com) is one of many applications that display what trends are rising and falling.tweetdeck. Click the + icon to add a new column.twitscoop. helps you track keywords and trending topics. TwitScoop does this both at a Web site and as a feature built into popular Twitter client TweetDeck (www. TwitScoop. Built into TweetDeck. select “Core” and then “TwitScoop”. TwitScoop (www. celebrities. In the left navigation of the “Add Column” box.com. Twitter shines as a powerful way to find out what’s going on in almost real time.com). Another noteworthy site is WhatTheTrend.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 143 TwitScoop Time and again during news events. wildfires. movies. (earthquakes. which tracks and highlights the dominating conversations on Twitter and summarizes them for you. deaths) as an extension of popular culture (TV shows. . Figure 9-2: TweetDeck can run a TwitScoop column.
or on the TwitScoop site. . shown in Figure 9-3. if you’re running a meeting or conference.com). and other words that are trending on Twitter. On the main Web site that is behind the TweetDeck application.twitscoop. which gives you a short.144 Part III: Twittering in High Gear A new TweetDeck column dedicated to trending topics and the information related to them loads. Twitter also offers a Trends tab now. unsorted list of popular topics in real time. Figure 9-3: TwitScoop shows you a tag cloud and hot trends. tell attendees to mark their tweets with an agreed-upon hashtag and then follow the conversation by tracking that hashtag on TweetScoop. you can see tags. in TweetDeck. Trending topics let you know how popular something is by tracking keywords and hashtags. tag clouds. popular hashtags. you’ll find trending topic and keyword tracking in a browser interface. From the TwitScoop home page (www. You can also use a handful of widgets to embed a list of trending topics on your Web site or blog. For example.
What that means is that a hashtag that catches on forms an instant community around it. or even entire movements. Admittedly. you can search by keyword. event. People at the same event or meeting. but the # in a hashtag is a signal for others that it is the keyword to use so that they can easily find. More and more. You can always unfollow a heavy hashtag user if it really bothers you. or other content by using an easy abbreviation that doesn’t take up too many of a tweet’s 140 characters. As a concept.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 145 Hashtags Hashtags have become a part of the culture on Twitter for many avid users. and other codes. before too long.) Sure. (Figure 9-4 shows the results of a search for #dummies. can seem noisy and disjointed if you don’t follow or understand those hashtags. such as #GNO. Most of these communities are short-lived. Not all Twitter users like hashtags: Some users think that hashtags make the Twitter stream clunky. hashtags make it possible to quickly filter tweets by topic.org uses. and they have a very interesting future. along with the rest of Twitter’s quirks. Hashtags are handy for note-taking and conversation during events. if you want to review the information related to that event or topic. #journchat. or meta hashtags. or who are discussing the same topic. especially if organizers say something like “include #ourevent in all your tweets” (where ourevent is a unique label for that event. creating a shared billboard of ideas. can use the same hashtag. #justsayin. you can simply search for the hashtag on Twitter Search to find all tweets that reference the same code. recurring real-time events.) People tweeting about it just type that #ourevent tag in each tweet to contribute to the combined flow of tweets that all can watch and respond to.hashtags. so you can’t always search it reliably.) Originally. Others become ongoing conversations. seeing tweet after tweet go by containing hashtags. hashtags are a way to delineate a keyword for other Twitter users to organize discussions around specific topics and events.org) automatically tracked and displayed these hashtags. Later on. The ability to tag tweets is extremely powerful. Basically. talks and conference panels in the tech and media industries display the search results for the official hashtag. notes. and share all tweets for a certain topic or event. But Twitter occasionally turns off the portion of its application program interface (API) that hashtags. questions. . read. but don’t pull the trigger too quickly: You can probably get used to hashtags. It’s something people are just starting to figure out. (You may sometimes hear these called Meta tags. #sxsw. the Web site #hashtags (www.
Figure 9-4: The results of a search for the hashtag #dummies. Say that you’re organizing an event or want to start a discussion or debate on Twitter. or Social Media Breakfast NH). You can use one of many tools. From how the hashtag is included in the tweet. by linking to the “binder” on your event site. such as TwapperKeeper (http:// twapperkeeper. to set up “binders” for your most often re-used hashtags (such as tags for monthly events like #smbnh. you can often discover other attendees at the conference that you might want to meet or talk to (although sometimes the people tweeting from offsite are so engaged.146 Part III: Twittering in High Gear and other information. you can see your hashtags as perpetual notes creating a whole picture of a group or community as it has developed. and you want to establish a hashtag for that Twitter conversation. Like Tweets.com/). you might actually think they were in the room with you). People not present at the event can also participate in the discussion by searching the hashtag stream and following along with the presentation or speaker. Then. hashtags are living things that will drop out of your current view over time. Here are some tips for creating an effective hashtag: . just like they were there.
make a note of it on your event page or blog post — or. Other social networks. use this too! You can find pictures of the event.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem ✓ If you want to avoid confusion. and entire services that feed off of the Twitter platform. ✓ Make sure everyone at your event or discussing your topic is aware of the proper hashtag in advance. Figure 9-5 shows the desktop client TweetDeck. mash-ups. like Flickr. by tweeting it out — so that people responding to it can use the same hashtag. . people use the popular #wishlist hashtag for everything from software feature wish lists to requests for birthday presents. 147 Expanding Your Twitter World by Using Clients Twitter’s open API means that enterprising and creative software developers are constantly creating applications. After you choose your hashtag. For example. check Twitter Search for the hashtag that you want to use to make sure that someone else hasn’t already claimed it. of course. Figure 9-5: Put Twitter on your desktop with a client such as TweetDeck. For example. so searching for it brings up a fairly cluttered stream.
Each of these applications have different ways of displaying.fm (a tool to send one message to multiple platforms). but here are a few that stand out from the crowd because they’re particularly easy to use and offer the features that most Twitter users want: ✓ Seesmic Desktop (www. is compatible with Mac. Most of these clients are based on a programming standard called Adobe Air. The main selling points of TweetDeck are the ability to form specific groups of . Adobe Air is a free program.148 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Many of these third-party applications are Twitter clients. and Seesmic video-chat. organizing. It has a slim. which is handy for those users who keep separate personal and professional ones. just like Seesmic Desktop. based on Adobe Air. or who run Twitter accounts for clients. If Seesmic Desktop isn’t hardcore enough for you. which many avid Twitter users like. Anybody with a decent amount of programming know-how can create a Twitter client. Whether a few clear leaders emerge or whether people continue to interact with Twitter dozens of ways remains to be seen. programs designed to let you update Twitter on your desktop or mobile phone.ca. instead of having to use the Web interface or text-messaging. you’re in luck — TweetDeck is for the power Twitter user. Windows. or Linux systems. and letting you interact with tweets. making them a very diverse crop of applications. Importantly.tweetdeck. Windows.com): This free Twitter client. and unobtrusive window interface (as shown in Figure 9-6). such as aggregator FriendFeed. Ping. so if you don’t have it already. Desktop clients Many Twitter clients for your Mac or PC take the form of a software download that you install and run from the desktop. because on the Web site. open-source microblogging application Identi. in fact. attractive. The interface is semi-customizable. It also works with several social-networking services. are many of the Twitter clients that we talk about. so. Many of these applications autoload tweets from your Twitter followers. so you can use many of your social tools in one place. you’ll be instructed to install it when you download a Twitter desktop client. you can install Seesmic Desktop on any computer that runs a Mac. This is nice. it can switch back and forth between multiple Twitter accounts. ✓ TweetDeck (www. and currently free to use.com): Based on Adobe Air. you have to actually click the blue bar showing how many new tweets have arrived every few minutes to see what’s going on. fairly easy to get the hang of. searching. There is definitely a competition afoot to become the preferred way for most twitterers to engage with Twitter. Adobe Air doesn’t come preinstalled on your computer.seesmic. or Linux operating system.
as well as the ability to manage more than one Twitter account. you can’t track other social networks within its interface. you can’t easily beat seeing trending topics in a column or performing a detailed Twitter search right from your desktop. TweetDeck and Twhirl increasingly vie for the top spot as most popular desktop Twitter client. ✓ Twitterrific (www. iPad. integrated Twitter search.com): A Twitter client made for the Mac OS X desktop operating system. TweetDeck is almost too functional for some casual Twitter users. But.com. Twitterrific has the standard gorgeous and streamlined interface most often associated with Macs (as shown in Figure 9-7). or iPod Touch available in the iTunes App Store. 149 Figure 9-6: Seesmic has a stylish interface design.twitterrific. you’ll find many of the same features as on Seesmic Desktop. Beyond that. . And many people swear by Twitterrific’s interface and customer service. including the ability to get content from more than one social network (Facebook. and it costs less than $15. with mobile versions for Apple’s iPhone. but if you choose to support the developers by purchasing the application. but if you use Twitter frequently. you’ll avoid the ads on the regular version. unlike many other Twitter clients. Twitterrific is shareware: You can download a free version. and multiple-column interface. but it’s worth noting that approximately half of Twitter use seems to happen right at Twitter. for example).Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem your contacts.
oneforty.com/ signup/maclinux.pidgin. to name a few.com): A Windows-only desktop client that combines together many instant-messaging.digsby. but it has yet to be released as of this writing.digsby. AIM. If you’re not on a Windows PC. Again. MySpace. you can sign up to be notified when they publish a Mac/Linux version of Digsby by going to www. ceruleanstudios. e-mail. But if none of the most popular Twitter clients appeal to you. but Digsby comes with social networks built in. because more and more emerge every day. Use Google or another search engine to search for a desktop Twitter client. You can find many Twitter desktop clients out there to choose from.com to make all of this easier. and social-networking accounts. LinkedIn. we’re building www. too. Try out a few of the Twitter desktop clients in the preceding list.com). A version is in the works for the Mac operating system.150 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Figure 9-7: A Twitterrific desktop interface. never fear. The interface is similar to a universal instantmessaging client such as Pidgin (www. and Yahoo!.im) or Trillian (www. in addition to Twitter — Facebook. Figure 9-8 shows the Digsby home page. . ✓ Digsby (www.
But getting so many text messages can be expensive if you don’t subscribe to an unlimited texting plan. and consequently having them associated with your username if you enable Phone as a delivery option on your Home screen sidebar. Because SMS also costs Twitter money. Another way to see what clients are popular? Simply look at the end of tweets from people you trust to find out what they use — tweets are source tagged with the name of the source client or application that sent them. You simply have to add your mobile device to your Twitter profile. you may want to invest in a mobile Twitter client. smartphone. Mobile clients The most basic way to use Twitter on a mobile phone.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 151 Figure 9-8: You can keep up with your Twitter account by using Digsby. . although not your @replies at the time of writing. or PDA is by text messaging (SMS). Twitter might eliminate the SMS service in the future to cut costs or begin charging for SMS to offset those costs. You also receive your direct messages. sending tweets to the 40404 short-code. To prepare yourself for that possible situation. You can also use SMS as a convenient way to receive tweets on your cellphone because the phone delivery option sends you the tweets of any user for whom you have turned on Notifications.
twitter rific. Enter Adobe Air. Installing Adobe Air is not that hard — often. Adobe Air is a piece of software you install on your computer that lets you run applications built for the Adobe Air set of standards. Or. Because of Adobe Air’s ease of distribution and networking features. the other for Macintosh. You can take the easy road if you have a smartphone or PDA that has a decent Web browser and a data plan from your cell carrier. Just follow the onscreen instructions or go to www. ✓ For a BlackBerry: Your choices are limited. At Microsoft.com/tweetieiphone). formerly called TwitterBerry (www. orangatame. such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop. soon to be Twitter for iPhone and iPad. they function exactly the same across platforms. run everywhere” ideal. programmers often write desktop-based social-networking and messaging clients for Adobe Air. For smaller companies or independent developers. as well as other apps such as Twitter’s own (http:// mobile. That means developers can reach a larger potential audience than if they had to re-create their product over and over to work on different platforms. Visit http://m. you’re instructed to install Adobe Air first.com/products/openbeak/). if you try to install an application that requires it. It may even automatically download itself and install on your computer if you give it permission. TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop) are written for Adobe Air.adobe.com/products/air/. need to be written separately for each operating system that they run on. Some software developers actually joke that the main reason to learn to program for Adobe Air is to build a new Twitter client. for instance.twitter. coding two (or three) versions of the same application can be a huge investment of time. but most BlackBerry users prefer an app called OpenBeak.com) and Tweetie (www.atebits.com for the mostly-functional mobile version of the site. . Adobe Air aims for the “write once. particularly those that are writing lightweight applications.152 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Adobe Air Most consumer applications. twitter. You can find them by searching in the iTunes App Store. Because these applications run on any machine that can run Adobe Air.com). Anyone who has tried to jump from using Microsoft Word on a Mac to using Microsoft Word on a PC (or vice-versa) can appreciate the beauty of this. Like the programming language Java. download one of the following mobile applications and see how amazing Twitter can be when you take it on the road: ✓ For an iPhone or iPad: You can use the Twitterrific (www. Many Twitter third-party desktop applications (notably. two separate teams work on two versions of Microsoft Word: one for Windows.
Twobile (shown in Figure 9-9) fits that bill. Here are several clients for Windows Mobile that you might want to check out: • Twobile (www. • ceTwit (http://www. 153 Figure 9-9: You can use Twobile on your Windows Mobile device. ✓ For a Java-enabled phone: TinyTwitter (www. TinyTwitter gives you all the functions that other mobile Twitter clients do. but none of them are all that great. If you want a stable option that experiences few crashes. Users have reported. but the list interface has its problems.com/): Users swear by its stability. however. and you can easily use it. especially if you have a touch screen phone.com/seesmic_mobile/) seem to be the favorites amongst our peers.com) is an excellent choice out of many options. One of the more stable Java applications for the mobile phone.infinitumsoftware. .tinytwitter.” earlier in this chapter). but it’s fully functional and reasonably stable. It doesn’t look as pretty as some desktop Twitter clients.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem ✓ For an Android-based phone: Twidroid (http://twidroid. especially on the often-unstable Windows Mobile operating system. ✓ For Windows Mobile-based smartphones and PDAs: You can find several options out there. like the Digsby desktop client (see “Desktop clients. But some users do have issues with the fact that. It does have avatars associated with the tweets that come through. yet it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space if your phone doesn’t have a lot of room on it for extra applications.com/cetwit-info/): A bit better on the design front than Twobile. making it more difficult for you to tell at a glance whether your favorite people and companies on Twitter are talking.com/) and Seesmic Mobile (http://seesmic. that it’s more crash-prone than Twobile. Twobile doesn’t display avatars.kosertech.
154 Part III: Twittering in High Gear • PocketTwit (http://code. both mobile and desktop. You can use a site called the Twitter Fan Wiki (http://twitter. It’s still in beta (early testing release). or to just about anything on the Web. But those URLs can be quite long. Sometimes. fully functional interface (shown in Figure 9-10) operates much like most desktop clients and looks gorgeous.com how that goes.oneforty. Keeping Your Tweets Short with URL Shorteners One of the main issues with Twitter is space. even the fan wiki. There are several other directories. is remaining very current or user-friendly with the fast pace of innovation within the Twitter ecosystem. We’ll let you know on www.google. We sincerely hope to fix that with www. But if you want your mobile client to look and operate just like your desktop client. this one can do the job. The 140-character limit makes it easy to run out of room before you finish what you want to say. and you have to be ready to download regular updates.com/p/pocketwit): A new contender. . Figure 9-10: PocketTwit is a new Windows Mobile device client.pbwiki. which comes from Google Labs. so it has some occasional freezes. you want to show your Twitter network a link to a Web page that you find fascinating or amusing. com/apps) to find out more about Twitter clients. often well over 140 characters themselves. Active Twitter users have written up their favorite Twitter applications and provided links that can point you to the download sites.TwitterForDummies. but none of them.com. Its slick. for the touch screen Windows Mobile market. to a blog post that you wrote or an article about you.
com) as its default URL shortener. This application’s tracking includes location and metadata. and what kind of results they’re getting. bit. So. Twitter automatically shrinks that URL to a more manageable size by using TinyURL. You don’t have to do a thing. Some URL shorteners offer added services.ly (http://bit. and other statistics that you can use to gather data on the effectiveness of your (or your client’s) Twitter account: ✓ bit. copy the URL from the address bar of the Web site that you want to share. bit. and you can set bit. The URL shortener permanently assigns the link to that shortened URL. you can see bit. shown in Figure 9-11.ly) remains our favorite of the URL shortener crowd. you can use a URL shortener that promises to make your URL fit into the smallest of spaces on Twitter. and retweets of the link (even if they use a differently shortened URL) ✓ BudURL (http://budurl. and then paste that URL into the input field at the URL shortener site of your choice. To use one of these shorteners. clicks on other shortened versions of the link. If you’re looking to save as many characters as possible.ly catches your tracking data for you no matter what Twitter interface you use when you post. 155 . bit. where clicks are coming from. unlike other URL shorteners.tinyurl. two huge pieces of information that can help you target your audience in a more refined way.com.ly. how often it’s being clicked. key information from the target page. bit. unshortened URL in the Update window on your Home screen on Twitter.ly (http://bit. Although new applications come out frequently. In Figure 9-12.com): Tracks the IP address of visitors and how many times your link was clicked You can find many options by doing a Google search for the term URL shortener. Twitter uses TinyURL (www.ly): Tracks clicks over time.ly also integrates with TweetDeck.ly and then tweeted. offers a complete tracking service that lets you see where the URLs you shorten and share are going.ly tracking results (how many people clicked and when) for a link that was shortened in bit.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem URL shorteners are extremely easy Web-based applications that take long URLs from Web sites and make them shorter by turning them into coded small URLs that forward the reader to the original linked page.ly to remember your Twitter handle(s). such as a way to track who’s clicking your link in Twitter. If you enter a whole.
It has some issues with user interface. Flickr. social bookmarking sites such as Digg. and so on. Not everyone loves FriendFeed. An aggregator gives you one stop where you can see all your social profiles and all the updates from your friends and colleagues on those services. It’s pretty complicated. Facebook. photo-sharing sites such as Flickr. The most buzzworthy aggregator right now is FriendFeed (http://friend feed. social music sites such as Last.156 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Figure 9-11: The bit. any blog or Web site that has an RSS feed. Getting All Your Online Activity in One Place by Using Aggregators Aggregators are sites that bring all your social-media activity into one place. although a new . especially at first.ly interface. pulling in your accounts from sites such as Twitter. FriendFeed can pull in accounts from any social network. MySpace. without having to spend a lot of time clicking from Web site to Web site so that you can keep up with what’s going on. YouTube. shown in Figure 9-13.fm.com). and more.
even though they don’t necessarily have the hardcore community that FriendFeed does. Plaxo. Some power users use the new Google Buzz (accessible for those with GMail accounts). You may find figuring it out a bit difficult. and many more.ly tracking results. Some people find that putting so many accounts into one place just makes things noisy. so you can see it right on your desktop Twitter client. It also works with Seesmic Desktop. and you can use many of them much more easily (and they look prettier) than FriendFeed. SocialThing.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem one just launched as this book went to press. but it has a steep learning curve and several serious privacy issues. . You can find plenty of other aggregators out there. But many active twitterers love FriendFeed because it handles vast amounts of data from both you and your contacts with ease. Spokeo. You can also use SocialMedian. making that News Feed function very much like an aggregator. and it gets too hard to follow meaningful conversations or keep up with friends. Facebook itself now pulls many third-party services into its News Feed. 157 Figure 9-12: Some bit.
Twitter keeps track of the hot topics and displays and ranks them there. You can also use a service called Twellow (www. Using Trending Topics: The Zeitgeist of Twitter Near the bottom of the right-hand column of your Twitter home page.com) to search the latest trending topics and popular tag words. When you use Twitter. you can see topics trending (becoming popular) in real time. Twitter pulls up quick. If you click any one of those trending topics. As the millions of people tweet away.158 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Figure 9-13: Combine all your online activity by using FriendFeed. but is often. A tag word is the same as a hashtag or keyword. . real-time search results for that individual topic. A quick description won’t always be there. It’s just a word that people are using frequently to discuss a certain topic or issue. Twitter can pull in description information from the third-party service WhatTheTrend. (Go ahead and try!) If the topic has been around for a little bit. you can see the Trending Topics section.com to try and make sense of why that topic is trending.twellow.
In the Color Wars. Why should you care about trending topics? You can use them to gauge the popularity or success of anything from a specific person to a political theme to a marketing campaign.) Trending topics give you real-time statistics on public appeal and can be a great resource for sudden worldwide events. Right now. in a gross display of schadenfreude.com/trendingtopics). that city. if a city’s big enough. Trending Topics defaults to global reach.com). and those teams proceeded to complete tasks such as online scavenger hunts and Photoshop challenges.free. (In the latter case. like tsunamis. To adjust Trending Topics scope. such as #NoDisrespectBut #DontYouHateWhen and new Apple product releases. but Twitter is working to help localize trending topics for greater relevance. it’s often the case when you see a celebrity’s name trending on Twitter that they’ve have had a big news day or have recently passed away.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem Trending topics also appear at a service called TweetGrid (www. For example. Some users who have turned on Twitter’s new geolocation feature in their settings (use with caution) can get trending topics for their immediate area. Twitter users joined teams designated by color in a summercamp-inspired game. Whenever the Red Sox lose to the Yankees. you can adjust your trending topics to lessen the pain or heighten the glory: Laura and Leslie hail from the Boston area. and new Apple product releases.fr). Michael sets his Trending Topics scope to Boston and basks in the angst that is New England’s collective mourning. They’ve been known to turn the service into a wacky social gaming platform on occasion. such as when Internet sensation Ze Frank organized Color Wars (as shown in Figure 9-14). find the Trending Topics sidebar area and click the Change button. You can also follow the user @ TrendingTopics (http://twitter. So. They can also help you figure out what the global Twitter population finds newsworthy. If your favorite sports team loses. Go Yankees.tweet grid.trends. you can localize to country and. Trending topics often picks up a lot of nonsense and off-target information. and on sites such as the Twitter Trending Topics RSS Feed (http://twitter. 159 Playing with Twitter Games and Memes Hardcore Twitter users are a playful bunch. and Michael lives in New York. earthquakes. take Trending Topics with a grain of salt. a bot that claims to track and report live trending tag words on Twitter. you’ll usually see RIP trending along with that celebrity’s name. A dialog box will come up so you can hone-in on the geographic area that’s most interesting to you. . By the same token.
and you can also use them to find out a little more about your Twitter connections. all collaborating on the outcome by adding individual lines. When Twitter users see the hashtag go by in their Twitter stream. You can have fun going back to visit these games in Twitter Search later. You can read how TwitStory #3 came out on its creator’s blog at http://andypowe11. users create hashtags to spark discussion. Sometimes. TwitStory is a game in which people create a story tweet by tweet. fitting unrelated lines together like a puzzle. net/blog/?cat=10. they voice their own opinions. as well. such as #favoritehappysong or #favoritefallfood. answering the implicit question and tweeting it out with the hashtag attached. to create memes — trends that flow through the Twitter stream with many people participating. to build the story.160 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Figure 9-14: Color Wars! You can use Twitter for creative games. . rather than your own. from one person to another. Twitter users like to use its potential to spread virally. You use other people’s tweets.
and the more mentions a word gets.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem One popular meme that doesn’t seem to ever die out is the Overheard meme. often quite visually appealing. keeping the OH anonymous — it’s funnier out of context. Tag clouds provide an easy visualization of what’s going on in the twitterverse in real time. and hashtags all have something in common: They all can generate a Twitter tag cloud. Tag clouds are an interesting way to present what topics and keywords around your subject are interesting to the group at large and can give your presentation or blog entry a little more punch and relevance. “What’s the deal with Twitter and Ohio anyways!?” OH just abbreviates “overheard” and is usually followed by something funny or awkward or even quite horrible. way to see what is really going on. You may have noticed a lot of tweets containing OH and wondered. wordle. It’s another. . You may enjoy watching tag clouds. The twitterer is sharing it as if to say. With all the creativity on Twitter and its general fun-loving nature. a visual display of words where the relative size of the word corresponds to how many times it has been mentioned. Some OH tweets are racy or raunchy.net) even let you play with tag clouds a little so that you can generate graphical representations of whatever your topic is (as shown in Figure 9-15). darker. and bolder its display will be as well. Don’t be shy! 161 Tag Clouds TwitScoop. which you can then use on slides and Web sites. trending topics. you may well create your own Twitter game or meme — either just for kicks or even as a marketing strategy. the larger. you don’t use any names. Cloudlet. Most of the time. but most are just average things people say that seem funny at the time. “Can you believe this?!” Hear something funny or crazy in real life and want to share it? Just type OH and then put the quip you heard in quotes. Words that twitterers are using a lot will appear in the tag cloud. Applications such as Wordle (www.
These tools allow you to set it and forget it — you can still find out what’s said without actively trawling through Twitter. a finely attuned listening program will greatly enhance your ability to build connections and influence on Twitter in the first place. Also. your company. but there is even more value in the Twitter experience when you take the opportunity to tune into what people are saying about you. Keeping an ear to the tremendous firehose of information about consumer sentiment and even world events helps and can definitely bear fruit and make effective use of your social media engagement time invested. Many of these tools are free. building connections and influence on Twitter is a great objective. . we really only skim the surface of what’s possible. make listening a priority for yourself on Twitter. Keeping in Contact with Visualization and Listening Tools Sure. But no matter which service you use. and your favorite topics. though you can pay for some tools that come with additional business features like analytics and better organization of search results. In the following sections. You can find plenty of tools available that let you track your social media presence.162 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Figure 9-15: This Wordlegenerated tag cloud.
3. is something every individual and company should do as a minimum social media listening program. which has a bell to its left. Gmail is free. tweets. and stories to your Gmail inbox (as shown in Figure 9-16).com reserves this Google profile for the company: www. Though. looking for new blog posts. you don’t have to use your Gmail address as your main e-mail to benefit from having a Gmail account. you probably should. From the Type drop-down list. you can set this to something else using their online tools. Twitter tweets. A drop-down menu appears. keyword. The Google Alerts screen appears. select what kind of search you want to do. . Log into your Gmail account.google. is your pass to many valuable. In the top toolbar. tagging. then delivers those posts. free Google applications and services like Google Alerts. while not a Twitter-specific listening tool. and news stories that mention whatever keywords you want to follow. To set up a Google Alert: 1. business name. name. such as putting quotes around two words to keep them together. click More. 2. which means that PistachioConsulting@Gmail. Google is emerging as a very convenient key to your social media identity. and as an e-mail service has some of the best spamblocking. 5. Select Even More from the menu. The More Google Products screen appears. and message search going. Click the Alerts link. In the Search Terms field. Your Gmail address is also the key to your Google profile URL. Google Alerts Setting up some basic Google Alerts. Remember.com/profiles/ PistachioConsulting. and having a Gmail account. But you may find more and more uses for it once you test the waters and do a few things with it. Google’s free e-mail account. 4. Doing a Boolean search. can help you fine-tune your Google Alert results. 6. enter the topic. The Google Alerts tool trawls the Web. or phrase that you want to monitor.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 163 Google as keymaster If you don’t already have a Google e-mail address.
You can create as many Alert searches as you need.164 Part III: Twittering in High Gear We recommend Comprehensive at first. Click the Create Alert button to activate the Google Alert. . to cover all your possible search bases. 10. If you find it is simply returning too many results for your brand. 7.com/) is a tool that works to help you track who is talking about you on the Internet (see Figure 9-17). your company name.blvdstatus. It helps you pay attention to people who are using your name. Google delivers the Alerts to this address. or any keywords you choose. In the Deliver To field. or your product is perceived. This kind of monitoring and listening tool is a valuable way to keep track of how you. From the How Often drop-down list. or keywords. 8. your company. select how often you want Google to trawl for results. Figure 9-16: You can have Google Alerts delivered directly to your Gmail inbox. you can always scale it back later. BLVDStatus (http://www. a brand name. enter your Gmail address. Repeat Steps 5 through 9 for additional Alerts. name. 9.
com) allows you to figure out how people are interacting with you and what they’re saying about you on Twitter.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 165 Figure 9-17: The BLVDStatus Stats page. sorted how you wish to see it). It helps you see real results from your online involvement. offers real results you can customize. whether or . and is comparable to a larger.twitter. paid tracking company. such as blogs. into something called conversion tracking. You can track all mentions of your name. What does BLVDStatus have to do with Twitter? It’s one of the few listening tools out there that lets you incorporate tweets as well as conversations about you found other places on the Web. Conversion tracking means BLVDStatus will help you see which tweets about you led to visits to your site and then go deeper to filling out a contact form or ordering a product. and it takes you to a level a bit deeper than a simple Google Alert. The most interesting things about BLVDStatus are that it offers a free version that is valuable. BLVDStatus displays these results in an attractive and easy-to-read set of widgets (colorful squares full of information you ask for. Twitter Search Twitter’s own Search (http://search.
twitter. its results automatically refresh every few moments. If you want to get fancy and you know how to use search strings. by setting up a search and then bookmarking that search for later.com). Your search results appear. Figure 9-18: Twitter Search results for a Dummies string. you can search terms like this: -from:dummies dummies OR dummys. In the Search box.166 Part III: Twittering in High Gear not those mentions have an @ in front of them. Figure 9-18 shows the results for the example Dummies search string. You can also subscribe to the results of any search using RSS (see Chapters 4 and 8). replacing “dummies” with the term for which you want to search. . Go to Twitter Search (http://search. company names. 2. To set this kind of inclusive Twitter search: 1. and for any topics we are currently working on. We have several bookmarked searches set up for our names. 3. enter your search terms. If you leave the Search tab open. Click the Search button.
Figure 9-19: You can download Radian6 from its Web site. or for a company that doesn’t have the manpower to set up and track multiple free searches on a variety of tools. . for a large corporation that needs to track multiple campaigns on a national or international scale.com). graphs. It also offers superb real-time customer service. 167 Radian6 We recommend Radian6 (www. and the ability to assign specific tweets to team members for follow-up. Radian6 offers the results in an easy-to-interpret. program.radian6. if you need assistance.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 4. aesthetically pleasing. such as tracking. or Web site. Bookmark the search using your favorite bookmarking feature. real-time package. analysis. Figure 9-19 shows the Radian6 Web site. 5. Radian6 offers some functionality that free search monitoring services don’t. a paid monitoring service. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 for as many search terms as you want to track.
Figure 9-20: Twitter lets you see who’s following you (left) and whom you follow (right). that twitterer’s username appears in the drop-down list only if he follows you back. and digging in to really understand who you are connected to is not always straightforward. maintaining your network. If you’re on a desktop client. you get a message telling you so. For some reason. You can use sites such as Twitter Karma and FriendorFollow to check and compare who follows you and whom you follow. You can quickly find out whether someone is following you back by trying to send that user a direct message. But. Here are some tools that will improve your networking experience on Twitter: ✓ Find your followers. If you’re on the Twitter Web interface’s DM update screen. It also doesn’t offer a way to sort your followers alphabetically or navigate in any way more efficient than the slow page-by-page scan.168 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Knowing Your Network with Follower and Following Tools While your Twitter universe grows and grows. Twitter doesn’t offer a way to search your follower or following lists (which you can see in Figure 9-20). You can use these kinds of services to check out your followers and to double-check that you’re following the people who are important to you: . you probably want to find the best way possible to keep up with your followers and who you’re following. finding interesting people. and to keep up with those people you want to add to your follow list. Twitter itself falls short in this area. Networking is by far one of the most powerful uses that anyone can make of Twitter. you can try to direct message that user — if he doesn’t follow you.
and which users both follow you and are followed by you. • Twitter (http://search. you’re often better 169 . name.check that user’s profile if you don’t want to receive her notifications by text message. you can claim your profile. • Twitter Karma (www. Because the results are searched by follower numbers.twellow. and its interface is a little bit easier to understand. so be sure to double.com or your Home screen): We’d be remiss not to remind you here that you can find new people to follow on Twitter itself in three useful ways.com): Structured like a Yellow Pages for Twitter. and who follows you without you following them back. journalists. who follows you.com): User-generated Twitter directory launched by Digg Founder Kevin Rose at SXSW in April 2009. location. meaning that you contact Twellow and prove that you are you in order to get editing privileges for it. and so on who are using Twitter at any given time. allows you to find new followers based on category. or professional categories. even if you have device updates turned on for your account. so it’s okay to use the tool to connect to many people. whom you follow without being followed back.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem • FriendorFollow (http://friendorfollow. as well as a bio.dossy. you can find him on Twellow. services. or trending topics. But Twitter Karma tends to select Notifications On as the default setting when you add a new follower from Twitter Karma’s interface. Associates up to three hashtags with each twitterer who lists themselves in the directory and then presents the most followed individuals and accounts for each category. politicians. FriendorFollow connections don’t automatically opt you into individuals’ device updates. it’s a particularly good way to find the top celebrities. Twitter’s people search function is ironically the weakest. You can then pick and choose whom to follow and whom to stop following. and then tweak it to categorize yourself so that others can find you based on your interests. • We Follow (www. Even to find a specific individual that you know to be on Twitter. If you search for yourself on Twellow. • Twellow (www. If a Twitter user has been active long enough to have a few tweets on the record. musicians.wefollow.twitter.org/twitter/karma): Offers you a way to see whom you follow.com): Came onto the Twitter scene more recently than Twitter Karma. You can also use Twitter Karma to add followers. The FriendorFollow interface tells you who your mutual follows are. ✓ Find new people to follow. as well as remove users whom you no longer want to follow.
Tweet (http://mrtweet. But to really fine-tune your interests.com) lets twitterers sign themselves up by tweeting their zip code publicly.com/twellow hood/) lets you find twitterers by city using a zoomable map. Click on a user’s name in any tweet he’s written and peruse his last page or so of tweets.twellow. and one that Leslie uses. ✓ Find users by location. • LocalTweeps (www. periodically search Twitter itself for tweets about topics close to your heart and unique amongst your interests.com) offers you a way to back up your Twitter data. You get a surprisingly good feel for who they are as a person that way.com): This site simply combines the streams of the 100 most-followed Twitter accounts. So while it overlaps heavily with the Suggested Users list. it does a nice job of letting you skim random tweets from the Twitter heavyweights in a combined screen.twitterlocal.localtweeps. and you may notice some cool ideas coming from equally cool people. so you don’t have to worry about losing photos. It’s very cool. as well as 27 of your other social networks. such as Facebook and Flickr. If you’re a cyclist. • Mr.net) used to use Twitter’s XMPP feed to show what users were in what locations. • Twellow’s Twellowhood feature (www. You can also try several other good sites for finding local twitterers: • Hubspot’s TwitterGrader returns lists of the top graded twitterers for given cities (http://twitter. TwitterLocal (www. is Backupify. so that you don’t lose the data if Twitter ever crashes. for instance. Poke around from time to time. it includes some pretty interesting accounts and is worth browsing. and reference riding occasionally.grader.com/top/cities). Mr. You never know who you might find. Tweetake (http://tweetake. or a 140-character thought ever again. The initial backup takes quite a long time. and while there has been some controversy around who gets to be on that list and who does not. including your follower and following lists. Tweet would allow you to find other cyclists amongst your friends’ friends. ✓ Back up your data. Twitter also offers a list of suggested users.com/): This site helps you find new Twitter users to follow based on both your existing network and your interests as demonstrated by your tweets. . An even more comprehensive service. friends.170 Part III: Twittering in High Gear off searching Google for his first and last names and the word Twitter. Because Twitter has its XMPP feed switched off for the time being. so be prepared to wait a little while. It backs up your tweets. • 100TWT (http://100twt. TwitterLocal is offered only as a downloadable Adobe Air application you can use to view tweets by location.
These tools are very much against the spirit of Twitter. having your own copy of your tweets. constantly updating map.twitterless. this kind of recordkeeping has even more obvious value — having the data in a format that you can search. on a live. and it’s a waste of energy to try to “determine” why someone left your stream. per se.com) are two tools that alert you when someone stops following you. We become what we measure. or it may have some very real economic and or emotional value to you. . When each tweet comes in. where unsubscribing is really just a personal choice about the consumption of content. Just don’t expect “utility” from it. Twittervision is certainly not an efficient way to find new people to follow. but it can be entrancing to watch. It’s really no big deal. relationships. as well as the specific Twitter user. It’s just not encouraging feedback. TwitterLess (www. you may want to know when you lose followers — but this information can also be quite the blow to your ego. perhaps embellishing them with the videos and photos you linked to. physical location from which it came.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem ✓ Find out when you lose followers. It’s enough to say. Laura frequently mentions her children’s milestones or captures meaningful moments in her life through her tweets. com) and Qwitter (http://useqwitter. You can take your unwieldy stream of tweets and extract out a few key moments. it’s associated with the actual.” Far be it from us to pass judgment on anyone’s sense of reverence. on a map of the world. 171 You can take it with you Depending on how you use Twitter. not a personal affront or rejection of the friendship. and conversations may be a mere nicety. Laura has many business and personal contacts that don’t happen to be interested in the way she uses Twitter. It’s probably not even a good idea to use these quitting services.com) that displays the activity on Twitter in real time on a Google map. For a business. “I’ve seen God. One of the areas of likely innovation in the Twitter ecosystem is better publishing tools. You can use a mash-up application called Twittervision (http://twittervision. parse. We’ve heard that someone who viewed the display at the Museum of Modern Art stared for a very long time and came away pretty breathless. you may find it kind of fun and mystifying to watch. Use with caution! ✓ Watch Twitter unfold. Depending on your outlook or your reason for using Twitter. and analyze will come to be a business necessity as more and more types of business interactions take place on Twitter. Personal scrapbooks or annual reports (see Nicholas Feltron’s work) could be a really nice thing to have personally. and measuring effectiveness will be a crucial reason to be able to get a copy of your Twitter data. especially as some are set up to imply that a certain tweet caused the unfollow. or visual display of the conversations you were having at the time. saying.
172 Part III: Twittering in High Gear .
Part IV Knowing Why We Twitter .
. we ask the big questions: Why are you on Twitter? As a business.I In this part . n this part. . what can you do to make people evangelize your cause? What should you say? Whom should you talk to? We answer these questions and more in this part. how can you use Twitter to build and stabilize your brand? As a not-for-profit. . and we promise we won’t put you through an existential crisis.
The mechanics are pretty easy. you have no idea who’s really listening (if anyone). If you plan to use the service with some regularity. But as you get up to speed and even “embrace the twecosystem. Finding Your Voice. you can more or less use Twitter. Twitter can conveniently become an integral part of your dayto-day life. you don’t follow anyone yet. and nobody follows you. Twitter is available almost everywhere — you can update your Twitter feed many ways on many platforms. You’re tweeting into the void. but over time that limitation changes the way you write and communicate. we explore different approaches to using Twitter and how you can find your own unique voice.” writing and sharing in only 140 characters at a time definitely takes some getting used to. Wherever you have Internet or cellular coverage. Updating your feed may seem a bit awkward. . In this chapter.Chapter 10 Finding Your Tweet Voice In This Chapter ▶ Diving into Twitter ▶ Deciding whether to tweet for work or fun ▶ Figuring out who you’re tweeting to ▶ Being yourself on Twitter ▶ Knowing what to keep personal and private I f you let it. It may seem a bit limiting at first. Whether for Business or Pleasure When you first sign up for a Twitter account. you’ll probably want to think at least a little bit about how your updates compare with the image you want to convey.
you should be able to get the hang of Twitter in no time! Figure 10-1: Michael’s example first tweet. and we address that a lot in this chapter. you may want to think about what sort of things you want to share with your following. But if you use your real name as your username (which is probably the best way to go). The answer. When you start following users and other users start following you. For many new users. depends entirely on what you want to get out of the Twitter experience.176 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter and you’re almost certainly wondering what the heck the point of tweeting even is. But if you follow our advice. it simply implies that you are who . you will find yourself figuring out what kind of voice you want to use on Twitter. you probably aim for Twitter personal use. as with so many answers about Twitter. If you use your business name as your Twitter handle. one of the great debates is whether to use Twitter for business or pleasure. Part of determining your identity on Twitter involves choosing your username (which we cover in Chapter 2). If you choose a nickname or pseudonym for your username. Don’t feel bad — most everyone’s first tweet (see Figure 10-1) is a little awkward. As you come to embrace the medium to its fullest. You might have joined Twitter for either reason (or both). you likely intend to create a presence for your company.
You can read about strategies and case studies in Chapter 11 (no bankruptcy pun intended). and customers a reason to read your tweets. so the case can also be made not to always have two different (business and personal) accounts. If you’re representing a large company (such as @JetBlue or @Starbucks). ✓ Give your audience. We explain how to make this change in Chapter 2. That said. We go over some tips and thoughts on how to make your Twitter voice your own in the section “You as you on Twitter. That’s a lot of responsibility! If you’re managing a Twitter presence on behalf of your company. you need a voice and personality that’s uniquely yours. Before you start tweeting on behalf of your business. we go over how businesses can best take advantage of Twitter. clients. No matter what you name your Twitter presence. and how customers like to be approached. ✓ Figure out how to engage your Twitter base in conversation. Getting used to how businesses operate on Twitter can prevent you from making a serious faux pas down the road. a lot of what makes the best business accounts great is their personality and humanity. In Chapter 11.” later in this chapter. . your Twitter presence might be a little more complicated because you’re not representing just yourself. we highly encourage you to start a separate account for yourself so that you can get used to the service. know what users expect from brands and businesses. that may mean tens of thousands of people.Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice you say you are — and you can take your account in the direction that makes the most sense to you as you evolve. Whatever name you pick. companies and businesses need to understand how to navigate the landscape as a brand. Twitter is a conversational medium. you can’t exactly adopt the usual salesperson “Sell! Sell! Sell!” mentality on Twitter. That’s one reason why you probably want to use your real name or some variation of it. but your business — and for some companies. and for businesses to mesh well with user expectations. you can change it at any time on your Twitter account’s Settings page. To operate as a successful business presence on Twitter: ✓ Master the art of give and take. 177 Your business on Twitter Can you use something as simple as Twitter for business? Absolutely! However.
it’s a minor inconvenience that you may be willing to accept if you really feel strongly about protecting your personal updates from the world. use a real photo of yourself as your avatar and put your company logo on the Twitter background that you use for your page.178 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter You as you on Twitter Although Twitter can be a powerful tool for business owners and employees. Twitter is personal. Twitter removes many communication barriers. you can keep up with — and even make new — friends you might otherwise not contact often. so dress up your profile and adjust your settings in a way that makes sense to you and what you want to get out of your Twitter experience. The social capital (trust. your opinions and statements may be biased because of your job. and more) that you earn within the Twitter community may lead to new opportunities for you and for your business. that tweet they share from you isn’t private. other than the users you authorize. Over time. disclosure is a good idea. Be sure you follow your company’s regulations regarding what you’re allowed to share. By using this setup. Also. Many personal Twitterers still tend to use Twitter in this manner. has access to your updates. Twitter was built with personal connections in mind. so in the interests of transparency. Twitter was originally popular helping individuals keep in touch with their friends and acquaintances via mini-updates. ✓ Introducing your business: Regardless of whether you plan to build your business by using Twitter “just as a person. If you’re twittering as an individual who works at a company. . For example.” you might want to include some information about your occupation and company in your Twitter profile. updating a close circle of friends about thoughts and happenings in their lives. Enabling the privacy feature ensures that no one. you can set your updates to Private. you let people know that you’re affiliated with the company. but users don’t mistake you for the company’s official twitterer. many Apple employees can’t reveal that they work for the company. setting your updates to Private also prevents Twitter Search from picking up your tweets. it’s just as powerful for individuals who really have no intention of conducting any sort of business on it (although business might happen accidentally). A few things to consider for your personal Twitter presence: ✓ Keeping your tweets private: If it helps you feel more comfortable with your personal use of Twitter. ✓ Making it personal: You don’t have to include any business information on Twitter if you don’t want to. However. Note: If your friends choose to retweet something pithy you said. thought leadership. and perhaps add a link back to your company’s online presence.
but it will influence the size and shape of your network. Also. family. #ymmv) Try a mix that’s comfortable to you and then just see whether you’re getting the results you hoped for. and the like. but most successful brand accounts stay . mutually beneficial way. it’s @dummies). If you cover both business and personal stuff on your account but aren’t an official “for the business” twitterer. Because Twitter is built for human communications. This is nothing wildly new. please remember. Want to be uber-personal all the time? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. “Your mileage will vary. Most networking events have a highly social component to them.” (On Twitter. as in life. they’re following that account for business info! If you’re really inconsistent. you just have to find your own balance. Your true voice is often the best bet. We get asked for a specific ratio all the time. If you’re updating under your business handle (for us. Give yourself time to discover what you’re comfortable doing. or overboard personally all the time. true engagement beats tonnage any day. Some find balancing your personal life and your professional life on Twitter tricky at first. strictly business-promotional) all the time may have a pretty hard time growing much of an engaged base. the number of followers is much less important than the quality of the conversations. but you can definitely do it. As car ads say. and our professional network at the golf course. if you want to connect with people in a genuine. Twitter is a pretty “what you give is what you get” kind of a place. followers probably expect that nearly all tweets from that account will relate to that business. off-topic.Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice 179 Mixing business with pleasure Some of the most successful Twitter personalities have embraced Twitter by transparently sharing personal. We don’t really know anyone who completely stops talking about work when out with friends — or vice versa — because work (whether we like it or not) is a big part of who we all are. and violate your followers’ expectations too much. For long-term sustainable value. Present yourself the way you feel most comfortable. Accounts that are nothing but business (or worse. out to dinner. and other aspects of themselves all rolled together. We’ve always spent time with colleagues. it can be good to go easy on how frequently you tweet about business-only stuff. attending charity events. It’s all about balance Balance is important on Twitter. and it’s really hard to say. professional. you may find your audience shrinking. It’s simple: People like to do business with people they like. Everyone needs to strike a balance. Don’t be offended if it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. it can handle many facets of your life. After all. unless you’re really constrained for business reasons and need to rein it in. clients.
It’s a subtle difference but an important point to establish yourself as genuine. it’s very possible you’ll find supportive people on Twitter. That sets the stage for occasionally promoting the goods or services that you sell. You can also definitely connect with people on more public personal topics like sports.180 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter relatively on topic. yes. Just remember that promotional tweets that aren’t framed from the perspective of your customer’s needs too often come across as a “take” because you’re asking for followers to buy what you’re selling. Having found something in common or someone who wants to help. and. Think of some updates as “give” and other updates as “take”: When you share or talk about things that are genuinely useful and helpful to customers. IM. Be real. When you really need to talk about those things. be sure to give your name in your bio. re-tweets. Want to know if the balance you strike is effective? Re-read your tweets at the end of the day or the end of the week and keep an eye on replies. you need to be genuine on Twitter and establish yourself as a trustworthy. Make the bulk of the content that you add to Twitter about you and the value that you provide (as a person and through your work). Occasional mention of your love life. then back off on the selling and stick to providing value. If you feel that your update stream comes off as too sales-y. That builds trust. follower growth. books. you may even get into a more in-depth conversation with a twitterer via DM or leave Twitter altogether via e-mail. or tedious about the same will put people off. Your goal should be to permit your followers to get a good understanding of what your business offers and come to trust you as who you are. and very honest. If you’re an individual twitterer. And a good Twitter foundation is key to establishing a stable and growing Twitter network. Twitter’s about being a genuine individual. multidimensional person. you’re providing something they want. who you are and what you represent. because you’ve earned the trust and attention of your readers. confidence. the numbers of people clicking links you share. or over your favorite beverage. or politics without revealing all your deepest secrets. and not a selfish peddler of goods. followers probably want to hear about you and how you’re going about your business. but being really negative. self-indulgent. Using your real name adds to your value as an individual. movies. Just as in other business interactions. Twitter gives your followers a lot of information about you. and interest in you. Transparency about who you are and what you do can go a long way toward growing your Twitter foundation. very humanizing. TV. Over time. At the same time. Be yourself Like with the individual and business-only accounts. health. . and other more personal stuff can be very funny. think carefully about how much of your private matters you want to share.
Ask them! 181 Identifying Your Audience Whether you’re a business or an individual on Twitter. Trying to build up business? Target your customers. but. If you haven’t transplanted your existing social networks onto Twitter. the Tour de France. you can easily see what sort of user you’re attracting. it may be a good time to do that and to put a bit of time and effort into expanding your network. Yes. When you start using Twitter. you have many resources at your fingertips. (You can find out about searching for users and topics in Chapters 5 and 9. click the Followers link under your name in the sidebar).” earlier in this chapter). if you’re trying to reach other cyclists to talk about racing. start talking about it and search for other users already chatting about the subject. it’s pretty hard to determine who your audience will be — your followers grow based on what value you can provide for other users. Send updates that are relevant to whomever you’d like to reach or about the topics that interest you and engage yourself in that conversation. it’s helpful to think about your audience. your cycling network will grow. it’s that easy. Browse through your list of Followers and click through to open some of their profiles to get a general idea of who’s following you (on any Twitter screen. If you’ve spent time cultivating a network that works for you. or the latest in derailleur technology. Want to communicate with other avid cyclists on Twitter? Search keywords and look to see who tweets about major cycling events.) You don’t have to be one-dimensional in your Twitter chat — if you want to engage cyclists. . Many fellow twitterers are willing to give you advice about how to overcome a business challenge or situation. Think about the kinds of people you’d like to talk to or the subjects you’d like to discuss through Twitter. Over time. you might find value in talking about your business problems in the open. if you want to engage other cyclists. Be yourself and talk about the things you like. just talk a bit more about cycling than anything else. So.Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice As a person on Twitter. you don’t always and only have to talk about cycling. for which the implicit rules are a little different — see “Your business on Twitter. so don’t feel that you need to talk about only one thing to be of value to your target audience. if you want to grow your Twitter network. That’s all. Viewing your network Although you have little direct control over who follows you. People understand that you have more to you than a single activity or idea (unless you’re a company or targeted Twitter account.
Reaching people and businesses you never expected to reach is most likely not a bad thing.com). One of our favorite tools for understanding how often and what you’re updating is TweetStats (www. If you’re a business. This tool enables you to see who you’re talking to. unpredicted followers could show that you’re increasing your business’s social reach.182 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter When you look into who’s following you. you might realize that you’re drawing unexpected people as followers. Diversifying your network You can help guide who tends to follow you by talking about a myriad of topics. getting a sense of what you’re talking about and whom you’re talking to can come in handy — it enables you to target your tweets to topics that are most interesting to your followers. and what you’re talking about — all in graph form. Figure 10-2 shows an example of the type of information TweetStats reports. . Although you may have interests that you talk about more than others. you’re broadening your horizons — and other users consider you and your tweets interesting. If you’re twittering as an individual. meaning a sign of successful Twitter use. People aren’t one-dimensional. when you’re talking. Figure 10-2: You can see a graph of your tweet density. and no one really expects you to be on-point all the time.tweetstats.
Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice
Targeting specific networks
If you’re targeting specific people with whom you want to interact more regularly, find a way to add value to the interactions for them. You can target these types of people by searching keywords and hashtags for that topic and seeing who uses them and who the real leaders appear to be. Once you’re following a few key people within that interest area, look for whom they talk to, listen to, and value. For example, if you’re a gardener, check to see who Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) follows and talks to about gardening topics. Click through any appealing @replies and consider following those people. You can also use this information to get a sense of what’s important to any given twitterer and what types of information they like to receive. With Twitter, you can essentially browse not only the connections between people, but also between topics of interest. You can also easily drop into active ongoing conversations about specific themes. One or two key people can lead you to an entire subject matter landscape on Twitter. In a very real sense, an individual or Twitter account that represents something can become the foundation for a community. Likewise, if you’re trying to target a specific type of individual, go to the Twitter streams of those individuals and see what they’re tweeting about. Join the conversation that they’re having with other people and engage those other people, as well. Over time, if you’re adding value to that conversation, then other people look to you as a person who’s involved and relevant in that community, whether it’s computer programming, baking cupcakes, or cancer research.
While you start to gain a foothold within communities on Twitter, you might want to get a sense of what your network looks like and how far your updates travel. As you read, please bear in mind that some of the less measurable results are the most important. The most important thing to measure is the thing you’re actually trying to accomplish, not just numbers for numbers’ sake. Are you meeting new friends? Finding new business leads? Sharing information widely about issues important to you? Do your messages spread? In her keynotes, Laura argues that messages can be much more important influencers within Twitter than influential accounts and individuals, because good messages get repeated. A truly great message, even if it starts in quiet little corners of Twitter among people with small following networks, will echo and get repeated until eventually it reaches much of the network.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
Twitter itself has a very primitive way of measuring your reach: You have following and followers counts. Although those numbers would seem to provide a good baseline for understanding how far your updates go and to whom, they don’t say much about what types of people follow you and how influential those followers are. In response, the Twitter community has developed a number of tools to help gauge and measure influence and reach. Less ethical people aggressively boost their follower numbers, sometimes through questionable habits like following people just until they follow back and then dropping them to go follow someone else. Important lessons? Don’t automatically trust an account with a really high number of followers. Don’t build your network around high numbers at the cost of high relevance and high engagement. Twinfluence (www.twinfluence.com), shown in Figure 10-3, and TwitterGrader (http://twitter.grader.com), shown in Figure 10-4, can help you figure out how you compare with other users, but even they use fairly arbitrary measures. You can also use these sites to determine who the popular users are in your geographical location.
Figure 10-3: Twinfluence stats, showing @algore’s popularity.
Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice
For major cities, such as New York, Boston, and San Francisco, there might just be too many twitterers for these tools to really help you; but in smaller towns and metropolises, these statistics might quickly help you identify some real community leaders whose tweets would contain valuable information about the area and connection to others there. For all intents and purposes, these numbers don’t really measure influence or reach. The results you can get from these sites are so imprecise and subjective that they provide only a rough understanding of how influence flows through the Twitter ecosystem. First and foremost, use Twitter to communicate; and, although high follower counts may indicate genuine popularity, they can be gamed and don’t necessarily indicate importance or quality. Laura goes so far as to say, “The most important, influential person in your Twitter stream is you; be proactive about your life.”
Figure 10-4: Twitter Grader, suggesting the humble
Understanding your extended network
Twitter, by itself, can tell you only the number of people you follow and the number of people who follow you. As described in the previous section, those numbers give you just part of the story.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
If 100 people follow you and communicate with you, then your actual extended network is much larger than 100 people because conversations relay messages and connect new people on Twitter. Say that Follower #86 has 1,000 followers. Whenever Follower #86 mentions your name, 1,000 people receive an update that contains your name. And you may find that kind of exposure quite useful. Twitter is an excellent way to “harness the power of loose ties” or benefit from friends of friends of friends who are more likely to know about things nobody in your social group knows. If Boston-based Laura was trying to locate a venue in Nashville, Tennessee, to hold a Twitter marketing seminar, she might send an update that reads, “Trying to locate a good 700-person venue in Nashville to give a talk. A place to stay would be nice, too. Suggestions?” Because thousands of people read Laura’s Twitter stream, chances are good someone lives in Nashville. If any of those handful wanted to connect Laura with a local business owner, they might ask their own networks, who may have an answer based on their own geography. In this sense, Laura’s primary network gives her secondary access to all her follower’s networks, as well. It’s pretty cool how friends of friends can end up becoming your direct friends, too. Say you’re following five friends, and two of them are constantly communicating (via @replies) with some other person whom you don’t know. Out of curiosity, you may start following that other person just to make sense of your friends’ conversations. Because you’re friends with two people that the other person talks to frequently, he follows you back. Now, all of a sudden, you have both a larger Twitter network and extended network. Although finding new and interesting people in your Twitter network happens organically, the Twitter community has come up with a couple of tools to help grow your network in a way that’s relevant to you. You can browse interesting tags for people in the Twitter directory www.wefollow.com that Digg CEO Kevin Rose (@kevinrose) started in spring 2009, or the service www. MrTweet.com (@mrtweet), a program that combs your Twitter network and recommends new people for you to follow. In our experience, Mr. Tweet is pretty accurate in automatically finding people who are relevant in scope to what you talk about and what your network looks like. Give it a try!
Keeping Your Tweets Authentic
Because of the frequency and personal nature of what people share on Twitter, any twitterer absolutely must be genuine and real, whether she’s representing a business or tweeting as an individual. Joining Twitter as a private citizen is the route many users take, even if they have business to promote. Twitter is ideally suited for personal connection, and you can often more easily make yourself accessible and personable when you use Twitter as a person, not as your business.
Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice
Joining the conversation
You see the phrase “join the conversation” bandied about a lot on Twitter. If you’re representing a business, you can get a dialog going very easily: Just search for users who have mentioned your products or the types of problems you solve and follow them. If you have something relevant to say, engage them in conversation using the mention they made as a starting point. We go over how businesses should approach using Twitter in Chapter 11, so read through it to avoid any complications or Twitter faux pas. Singling users out and asking them questions may be appropriate for some products, but that approach may be completely inappropriate for others. Twitter’s just another engagement point for your communications, marketing, and public relations, so know the rules of the road before you start driving too fast. If you’re representing a business, mentioning little-known facts or interesting things about what you do or sell can start a conversation. You can also talk about your staff; tell interested twitterers how you (or someone else) make what you sell; or take the easiest route of all and ask your fellow Twitter users what they think of your product or service, and how they think you can improve or expand.
By way of getting started, many new users start sharing links with a bit of commentary on their Twitter stream, as shown in Figure 10-5. For many users, sending a link provides a great way to get a commentary started about something you find interesting. Give it a shot and see what happens. Here are the basics for sharing links. (You’ll probably want to use a link shortener most of the time, though. Review Chapter 9 for a refresher on how to do that.) 1. Copy the link’s URL and paste it in the What’s Happening? box. 2. Type a comment about the link in the What’s Happening? box (either before or after the link). 3. Post your tweet by clicking the Update button. Usually after you post the tweet, Twitter shortens the URL for you using TinyURL. Some users post a lot of links — some users like to use RSS or other tools to automatically update their Twitter streams with links to interesting articles that they’re reading. Others just post links by hand.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
Figure 10-5: This update comments on a link and includes that link.
Linking to interesting articles changes the way that your Twitter audience perceives you. Remember, people follow you because you add value to their Twitter streams; but if you flood your stream with links that aren’t relevant to your audience, you may start to annoy some of your following. By adding a link to a tweet that you post, you draw attention to the targeted Web page, photo or video, and you’re implicitly endorsing it as a good use of your followers’ time. Abusing that assumption will erode the interest and trust your followers have in you and reduce the effectiveness of your network. If you do a lot of linking, review Chapter 9 so that you can track links like a pro. By using tools such as bit.ly (http://bit.ly), you can find out which Twitter users are linking to the same articles, which is a great way to start a conversation.
Image is everything
Your update stream is by far the most important part of your Twitter profile. However, your profile’s presentation also needs to reflect something about you. In the same way that you wear a nice set of clothes to a job interview, you want to dress up your profile so that it reflects the image that you want to convey to the world.
other people become willing to be honest and open with you. to mark each tweet with its author. Use a service such as CoTweet (http://cotweet. Too many team members to list? You can show them off in your background graphic the way @CoTweet itself does. However. People like to know who they’re talking to. Whether you’re a business or a private citizen. (Note: In the interest of full disclosure. Be sure that you’re comfortable with the world seeing whatever you put in your profile. and in the 160-character bio on Twitter. anyone in the world can view your Twitter profile (at http://twitter. you need to have actual people representing your brand’s Twitter presence.com/yourusername). Laura is an adviser for @CoTweet.Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice Although you may have your update stream protected in your Twitter account’s settings. you can do your Twitter profile in your corporate colors.) Check out Chapter 11 for more recommendations on the best ways for businesses to tweet. If you’re representing a large. let readers know who each set of initials belongs to. and when you present an image that reflects who you are. 189 Figure 10-6: You can “sign” Tweets by author by using cotags in CoTweet. shown in Figure 10-6. . your followers and potential followers react much more favorably if you include in your Twitter profile a photo of yourself and a link to something about you. because Twitter’s strength is in personal connections. com).com. iconic brand on Twitter.
after all. can experience tremendous growth and return on investment from Twitter because they make real contributions and build up a rich base of trust. whatever those may be. influence. For example. Don’t be afraid to voice your support for social causes and charities. and otherwise paying attention to the genuine voice. and people start to avoid you and stop taking you seriously. or whatever. Bring some value to the twitterverse by adding your authentic contributions. feel free to agree or disagree with someone — Twitter is.and offline.190 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Being genuine Authentic people and businesses. a digital extension of real life. . Your update stream speaks volumes about you. sex. They engage more closely because they feel comfortable responding. using Twitter in a real and interactive way. if you share a favorite cause or a local event in a way that makes it interesting to others. and being insincere jeopardizes the quality and effectiveness of your network. liberal. religion. and the more fellow twitterers know about you and about the things you have in common. apathetic. and other hot-button topics. Try not to engage in arguments over petty things — this behavior gets you branded as a troll. and social capital. (Get the scoop on trolls in the sidebar “Don’t feed the trolls. whether you’re a conservative. Don’t try to come off as something you’re not just to appeal to people. both on. if you’re tweeting about politics. you both spread awareness about what’s important to you (which may lead to more contributions for that cause or charity) and give your audience a better idea of who you are as a person. People respond much better to an authentic. human voice.” in this chapter. You lose some of that hardwon trust that you’ve been building since you joined Twitter. Even though you want to be genuine and real at all times. Treat others with respect. you’ll attract those with common interests. as you hope to be treated. remember that you can easily forget to be nice to people behind the safety of a monitor and keyboard thousands of miles away. moderate. so if you want to engage in that type of dialog. the more connections and ideas will flow in your network.) Evangelizing your causes When you’re on Twitter as an individual. so as not to offend your potential customers. and you can have a positive online experience. be yourself. By tweeting about your cause. retweeting. you probably want to avoid politics. They may get involved and show support. If you’re representing a business or tweeting on behalf of your company. Twitter is a network built on trust and relationships.
the floodgates open — hundreds more twitterers start to hear what you have to say and want to share with you. but Not Too Personal Above all else. . Even when you’re talking to your trusted Twitter network. saying questionable things to users. Some people actually decide to not even try Twitter because they worry that they don’t have anything interesting to say! We promise. you can often easily identify trolls and block them. but that’s a pretty aggressive move if they’re simply annoying. Because Twitter’s a network based on trust. someone. you may reduce your chances of having to hear from them again. a troll is someone who intentionally posts messages to upset people — for example. and otherwise being a poor citizen of the Internet. whatever you feel like tweeting about. . is into that subject. . You might have to tweet for a few days or weeks before you connect with them.000. Because so many conversations happen so quickly on Twitter. too. see Chapter 13. One of the first was Beth Kanter (@kanter) whose network sent a Cambodian woman to college in a matter of a few hours of Twitter conversation about it and links to a donation site. For more about Twitter and charity. and they eventually get bored and go away. (If you block them. sometimes about touchy subjects. which will show up on your Mentions tab in the sidebar. if you’re passionate about cancer research.000 people (or more) who are directly and indirectly connected to you. somewhere on Twitter. and anyone on the Web can link to them. your tweets are very much public. 500. Just ignore them. So. Google and other search engines still index them. or 50. Keeping Twitter Personal . some people get a little intimidated by the thought of tweeting about something serious. users need to be on the lookout for others who insist on asking inappropriatelycharged questions. remember that Twitter is a public forum. or another cause and want to have a fundraiser for it. because your tweets won’t show up in their timeline if you block them.) On the other side of the coin. domestic violence. 5. but after you find one person who “gets” you. They can still view your public profile — assuming you haven’t protected your tweets — and they can even still reply to you if they want. You feed the trolls by acknowledging their existence and allowing them to take control of the dialog. but they have to make a real effort to do that.Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice 191 Don’t feed the trolls In Internet parlance. a Twitter update that you send about the fundraiser might get repeated and reach 50. making rude and insulting comments on someone’s blog or replying to someone’s tweets with personal attacks. Spread the love! Many have raised money for worthy causes right on Twitter.
social security numbers. for data that secure). Keeping your personal details private protects both you and anyone in your care. double-check your d username tweets before posting. just to give those loved ones a layer of protection. In fact. use an even more secure medium like e-mail or even encryption. or phone.192 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter You can adjust your settings to prevent search engines and the occasional passerby from viewing your updates by protecting your account. Twitter is a powerful influence on search engines. whether it’s for business or friendship. Protecting personal details Many people opt to not even use the real names of family members or children who don’t use Twitter. Typing d username and then your message does send a private direct message from any Twitter interface. But. or use http://twitter. in our opinion. Try to be aware of how you are (or aren’t) maintaining boundaries with the people you interact with frequently on Twitter. instant message. credit card numbers. Use a bit of caution and ask permission before tweeting someone’s real name (or any other information that we mention). But trust us. ✓ Use DMs cautiously. they’d likely appear visibly . via e-mail. so casual mentions of unique names remain findable for a long time. such as your kids. To avoid accidental updates. you would not be the first person to accidentally post a private DM publicly. as shown in Figure 10-7. You want to be extremely careful if you decide to send sensitive information by DM. Especially before you agree to meet someone in person. Twitterers commonly refer to relatives. Better yet. that doubles your chances for a typo. ✓ Maintain boundaries. for example. if you made a typo or wrote dm username. so keep in the habit of using just ‘d’. and kids by nicknames or initials. or other valuable private data by Twitter (or even e-mail. If Laura even used their first names on her tweets (which all also contain her last name). but that exposure also comes with some responsibilities: ✓ Use common sense! Don’t publicly tweet or @reply someone your address. Send that kind of information via DM (direct message) — or.com/direct_messages to send DMs. Never send passwords. All the public exposure that Twitter offers can really help promote you and your business. or other personal details that you should keep private. the problem was so rampant that you can use the dm shortcode to DM someone. friends. take a look at how you’ve interacted in the past and make sure that you’ve kept your relationship clear from the start. Laura. make it a habit to use the Message button on a user’s page. even better. phone number. uses her daughters’ initials S and Z.
Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice in Google search results for their firstname lastname. Don’t believe her? A Google search for Z Fitton (or Z Fitton Pistachio) brings up a few recent tweets about her antics. . If you mention who you spend time with or that you always hang out at a certain cafe. you’ve given away a lot of information about yourself. The same words of caution go for any number of personal details. 193 Figure 10-7: Laura (@ pistachio) referencing her spawn in a tweet. Dive into information about your health or your private life in private conversation. anyone could go through the information you’ve published. but she keeps the details really fuzzy. later on. Although being authentic and a little bit personal goes a long way on Twitter. and the details about them safe. Maximizing privacy and safety After you Twitter for a while. everyone understands that you need a layer of privacy to keep you. We don’t want to scare you — but whenever you post in a public medium. and start piecing things together. your loved ones. someone can start tracking where you’ve been and what you’re doing. Laura loves the unique charms of her neighborhood and street. preferring Boston as specific enough.
and anything else you wouldn’t want the whole world to know) ✓ Vital health details (such as diseases you have or a diagnosis you just received — unless you’re comfortable with the world knowing about it) ✓ Details about schools and other locations where you or people you know spend time — you never know who might drop in after seeing your tweet on a Google search . your yearly income.194 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Things you probably shouldn’t say on Twitter You definitely want to keep some information to yourself when you’re tweeting away: ✓ Your home address ✓ Your home or cellphone number ✓ Your kids’ names ✓ Your financial information (such as credit card numbers.
. Twitter can impact pretty much everything. Most of the potential business applications of Twitter are just starting to become understood. Twitter can have powerful effects on personal and professional networks.Chapter 11 Twitter for Business In This Chapter ▶ Putting your business on Twitter ▶ Using Twitter to make your business look good ▶ Creating a network on Twitter and communicating with it ▶ Getting and giving useful information on Twitter o. Both technologies are extremely open communication platforms that have uses way beyond the marketing and customer-engagement layer. it’s that Twitter has the potential to filter into every possible aspect of business as a versatile communications platform and problem-solving tool. S The Business of Twitter People often ask Laura. In this chapter. and point you in the right direction to get started yourself. as well as match resources. Sales professionals can use it to generate leads. publishers to discover new content. “What’s the business use of e-mail?” It’s not that the technologies are similar or play the same role. “What’s the business use of Twitter?” Laura frequently answers with a different question. from the way enterprise software works to how project status is shared. It can fundamentally change communication and problem-solving. and lower expenses. explain what some other businesses have tried. you want to find out more about what Twitter can do for your business. You can listen to and harness the massive flow of ideas and information passing through Twitter so that you can advance your business objectives. or any business to create better relationships with customers. we cover some of the essentials. journalists to locate sources. accommodate HR challenges.
With a widget on your site. rather than through the Web page itself. and generally increase brand recognition. your company logo is appropriate. Dress nicely on Twitter: Fill out the whole Profile page when you set up your business’s Twitter account and upload an avatar (in some cases. Also. and in turn. assume that most everyone will at least look at your Profile page — if not the Web URL that you provide within that profile — before deciding whether or not to follow what you’re doing on Twitter. Putting Your Best Face Forward Businesses can use Twitter to talk to their customers and potential customers. you can even tweet to your customers (keeping freshly updated content front and center) without them having ever even heard of Twitter. First. turn to Chapter 2. Make sure that the Twitter Bio section. Introduce the people behind your business’s Twitter account — they’re the people your Twitter readers and connections actually talk to. it helps to take a look at some ways Twitter might fit with your brand. so let the individuals behind the keyboard shine through. You can use Twitter to generate traffic to your business’s Web site. You can sell directly — if you do it right — or you can just develop an inexpensive listening and conversation post among the very people whose problems your business solves. transparently show what you’re doing on Twitter.196 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter You can use Twitter to create ad-hoc communities. how can you get started? You can probably guess that your profile is your business’s face on Twitter. You can use it to solicit feedback. short though it may be.) After you create a great Profile page. but in others an individual photo is better). It can even make your company and brands easier for users to find on search engines such as Google. You need to verify that the business account is actually yours and promote the availability of the Twitter stream to all your customers. the content of your business’s tweets needs to honestly. or extend an experience to a remote audience. link to your Twitter account from your Web site. Link back to your main Web site. Given that Twitter has so many potential uses that are so diverse. organize and publicize live events. (For more on polishing your profile. Even though many people use Twitter through a service on their phone or desktop. what do you do? Here are a few simple ways to get out of the Twitter background and into public awareness: . tells Twitter users about your business.
Offer value. This ratio depends. and ideas that are relevant to your field. Twitter users have fascinating things to say about pretty much everything. but more importantly for you. Twitter makes finding ways to meet and engage with customers in real life easy.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business ✓ Listen. Use the ability to take conversations offline and into the real world via tweetups. 197 . fun. you need to have a good ratio of personal (or conversational) tweets to business (or promotional) ones. news. essays. making them notably funny. You may want to come up with an approximate numerical ratio that accomplishes your balance goals. or off-topic. they may already be talking about you and your business. in addition to promotional tweets so that you can still push your brand (without making that the only thing you do). You might want to decide. valuable. ✓ Engage. you can start to understand its potential. and customer service (which we talk about in the following sections). it works best when you make friends and have real conversations right in the Twitter stream. events. If you have a more conversational Twitter account that you still want to connect to your professional life. Bring your business’s conversations and connections beyond the 140-character limit. Whatever you do. in part. public relations. on how much you interact on Twitter and what you hope to accomplish — not to mention the nature of your business and your target audience or customer base. make about half your tweets personal. for example. that you can make only one or two of every ten tweets personal. and although it’s based on a one-to-many concept. ✓ Connect. While you listen and talk on Twitter. be useful. you can opt to put a particularly personal or original slant on promotional tweets. Twitter is a communications tool. If you think of Twitter as a giant consumer sentiment engine. Sometimes when you find people talking about subjects relevant to your business you can offer helpful contributions to their conversations! When it comes to business. Pay attention to what’s going on around you on Twitter. set up your account to curate and cultivate links about events. you can get useful information from Twitter in many ways. For the average business Twitter account. or interesting to your readers. ✓ Balance. If you prefer to deliver business value all the time. Alternately. and meetings to your business’s advantage. From using Twitter Search to sophisticated social-media listening tools (see Chapter 9). which is what Twitter is all about. you absolutely need to engage other people on Twitter. be sure to also interact with other twitterers. You’re going to want to find as many ways as you can to tune in. You can learn a lot by listening. You want to keep people engaged. and therein lies its largest business value. and the other half about your business.
others can pick them up and spread them around.twitter. professionals from both sides of the field gather to talk about current stories. and they do some pretty interesting things with it. and immediate event planning and feedback. and the community she built catapulted her from obscure community college PR practitioner to an extremely well-known social-media innovator. You may have heard about Twitter in the first place in the context of a mainstream news story about an event of global importance that was first reported via citizen journalism on Twitter — such as the emergency landing of a commercial airplane in the Hudson River in January 2009. On Monday nights. Journalists and PR practitioners are among some of Twitter’s most avid users. endless connections. or they’re thinking about it too narrowly. John A. a promotion platform. and interesting ways. It was Twitter innovator @PRSarahEvans who came up with the idea for #journchat. they can be a powerful way to introduce people and pass along contact information. for those of you playing along at home) when he went onto Twitter one night to answer questions and encouraged the use of the #editorchat hashtag. You don’t always get in-depth analysis (at least. Because Twitter usernames are short and frequently easy to remember. In an interview. Because #journchat is an agreed-on tag and a longstanding event. Twitter is an exceedingly powerful tool for detecting breaking events. if you float your ideas out there in genuine. Best of all. all by simply tagging their tweets with the word #journchat. It offers global reach. Twitter simply gives you a way to make what you do more accessible to people who might otherwise not hear your message. people know to point their search tools (or http:// search. Armed with .198 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Public relations You can use Twitter as a fantastic public-relations channel. Some traditional public relations firms may be intimidated by Twitter’s potential to connect stories. networking opportunities. Indeed. not until links to longer writings about the story begin to spread). whatever kind of business you work for. a reporter was surprised how easily Laura could rattle off half a dozen sources that the reporter might like to talk to. sources. their professions. Many of them don’t yet see the opportunity. but you do frequently find yourself way ahead of the game when a story breaks if you’re on Twitter. Byrne (@JohnAByrne) of BusinessWeek implemented a similar standing event (Wednesday nights. and the future of media. Many twitterers — from individuals to large corporations — report scoring numerous press opportunities as a result of engaging other twitterers and sharing on the Twitter platform. valid. Twitter is just one more tool — albeit a powerful and efficient one — to add to your arsenal if public relations is important to your business.com) at that word and watch the conversation scroll by. and journalists.
✓ Remember your balance. bloggers. Here are some tips to make your Twitter-based public relations more userfriendly and successful: ✓ Keep it real! The be-genuine Twitter rule applies at all times. but value. Answer others who happen to tweet related questions. How can you tell? Watch for effectiveness. but make sure that your answers aren’t selfish or too pushy. We don’t mean free giveaways or money. Twitter’s users can be very turned off by empty marketing banter. writers. and help to those conversations. Watch for conversations about topics relevant to your company or product. Sometimes. If someone asks you a question. ✓ Listen to feedback. It takes more than just promotions. the journalist used the profiles behind those usernames to get a quick snapshot of those users’ interests. Getting your message retweeted is much more effective than hammering your point home on your own. Just because you want to see fast results doesn’t mean that you should bombard your Twitter followers with link spam (numerous tweets that contain links to your business) or constant nagging about whatever you’re trying to promote. and points of view. overly aggressive promotions can slow your progress and reduce your audience. even better. Followers listen to you for the value you add. retweeting themselves (and passing your messages along for you). and if you consistently add insightful and worthwhile thoughts to their Twitter streams. Come up with a pithy or witty statement about your promotion that inspires people in your network to share and pass it along (to retweet the statement. service. and people from all walks of life. and provide unselfish solutions. Do people click your links? Do they retweet your messages without you having to ask? Do they complain that you’re being promotional. On Twitter. you may need to tweet a little less frequently to avoid letting spamminess make you less effective.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business these Twitter handles. Remember to space it out. abilities. ✓ Be genuinely helpful. ✓ Give your idea wings. or RT) to their own networks. you can 199 . Tread with respect. If you use it consistently and well. ✓ Offer incentives. they’ll be there for you when the roles reverse and you need them. or worse. or site). do they just not say much at all? Use trackable link shorteners so that you can see which of your tweets people are bothering to click or. even when you’re embarking on a publicity campaign (often especially when you’re attempting to drive sales or awareness to your product. ideas. Twitter provides all users access to influential journalists. Give people an unselfish reason to pay attention to you. plus links to further detailed information about them and an easy way to make contact. answer it in your own public feed so that you can continue to generate organic interest in your promotion.
They got in the trenches of social media through Twitter and engaged their customer bases by facing criticisms and complaints head-on. You don’t need to be a huge company (and you certainly don’t need to be suffering from a bad reputation) to create an effective business presence on Twitter. Even when the products and services sold under those brands elicit unpleasant reactions from the public. Customer service Big name companies. Twitter users around the world can witness this transformation and watch the companies respond to others’ complaints.200 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter find powerful. not to mention . more importantly. use Twitter as part of an overall strategy to reinvent their reputations for poor customer service and turn things around for their brands. Here’s the caveat: No one has yet figured out whether Twitter-based customer service will still be such a great shortcut once Twitter grows even bigger and more popular. improving the company image for even more people. inexpensive ways to share messages that help solve people’s problems and gain visibility for your work. Used artfully. Customer service on Twitter allows businesses to catch consumers in their moments of frustration and help them right away. Presence and timely response on Twitter can make the difference between a firestorm of complaints and a quickly-managed situation. and by showing a desire to help and respond quickly without making excuses or shifting blame. If the company’s customer service system has fundamental problems. How did they do it? Or. Better yet. If you’re at a small company. too. But Twitter alone can’t fix back-end customer-service infrastructure problems such as overloaded call centers or poorly trained representatives who have no real power to help. By listening diligently for mentions of their companies and quickly extending a helping hand.com/twitter) as hubs for public customer-service responses. how can you do it? Both companies set up Twitter accounts (@ComcastCares and all the Dell accounts listed at http://dell. Twitter provides a great customer-service channel for small and medium-sized businesses. having a real person reach out to help in a public forum can do a lot to prevent or dissipate consumer anger. Comcast and Dell have generated substantial goodwill (not to mention. press coverage). Having a Twitter account for your business can make your business more accessible. Twitter can broaden your ability to reach out widely and listen carefully at almost no expense (only some time and possibly tools) while saving you the cost of having an entire customer-service department. such as Comcast and Dell. one-to-one contact via Twitter instills a sense of hope that the people behind the company walls aren’t leaving customers hanging. remaining in closer contact with consumers alone will not fix that.
The best part about Twitter as a customer-service channel is how you get feedback when a customer leaves satisfied. Chances are good you’re going to find Laura’s Twitter profile (http://twitter. but the Zapponian culture of helpfulness absolutely shines through Twitter. Rick Levine (@ricklevine). the tweets will probably appear above the Web page or blog post in the search results for that keyword. particularly at first. Long live converse! Many companies struggle to come to terms with how they might use social media because they are reluctant to let go of their old “command and control” models of corporate communications. and an active Twitter account all contain the same keywords. Over 430 Zappos employees use Twitter. Doc Searls (@dsearls). Zappos (www. The catchphrase? “Deliver happiness. blogging. whether they’re involved in customer service or not. a sweetheart of the Twitter-for-business world. Keep going. com/DougH) pretty close to the top of those respective searches. Don’t believe us? Try searching the word pistachio and the word dough on Google on your computer right now. When you first dive into Twitter for customer service. or yes. 201 Command and control is dead. When a static Web page. posting on a message board. Twitter’s content is very search-engine friendly. a blog post. Many satisfied customers send out thank-you tweets that all their contacts see. What they need to realize is that they no longer “have control of the message” because anyone can publish — by commenting. you may see negativity about your company. and David Weinberger (@dweinberger) (Basic Books).com). At Zappos. Letting go of control (you don’t necessarily have control anymore anyhow) of your brand and engaging publicly with dissatisfied customers can really get that goodwill going. models an almost perfect implementation of the ideas laid out in The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual. This policy holds true throughout the company’s interactions. which gives you instant good public-relations buzz — and that kind of buzz is priceless. . by Christopher Locke (@clockerb). employees literally have a mandate to create delightful experiences for customers.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business let you help people in real time who have real problems and see instant improvement in how consumers perceive your business.zappos.com/ pistachio) and Boston-area PR practitioner Doug Haslam’s profile (http://twitter. microblogging — complaints about the company in places that anyone can find them.” Each employee who may come in contact with customers is encouraged and empowered to do whatever it takes to help. and they all take a share in the “Deliver Happiness” mission.
they collaborated on some cross-functional features in their otherwise rival products to make both companies’ customers happy and solve a problem. too. creates a more open and flexible hiring environment for all kinds of companies. The more you interact on Twitter. Building a network comes naturally on Twitter.0” culture (applying so-called Web 2. the more your network increases. @IntenseDebate) and DISQUS (http://disqus. and because of @replies and other links between Twitter networks and Twitter users. If you’re looking for ways to network more effectively — or you want to find interesting. from those seeking work or a better social life to CEOs and national politicians. Twitter offers a level of transparency that erases normal boundaries and rivalries. astonishingly relevant. Twitter also efficiently harnesses networks of loose ties — the friends of friends who are more likely to know about job opportunities and job candidates. and introduce yourself — all in real time. two companies that build comment management software for blogs. to randomly interact with and discover interesting new people along the way. Entire new horizons of opportunity can open up when you finally connect with the people that are right for you. You can build almost any specific type of network on Twitter.202 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Networking on Twitter Whether you do it via Twitter or an old-fashioned Rolodex.com. for example. and career success depends heavily on a little thing called your network. your business. and to get to know their existing employees and customers. and also to find new work. @disqus). the CEOs of competing companies IntenseDebate (http://intensedebate. and powerful network. get referrals from people who know them. personal.0 technologies to the job market). One of the most interesting phenomena on Twitter is the communication and collaboration that can occur while businesses network with one another in public. Bonus: You don’t have to talk to anyone whom you don’t want to. You can observe potential employees while they talk about what they know. valuable people efficiently — Twitter can help you build up a genuinely interesting. . Take. We really can’t overstate how versatile a networking tool Twitter can be. Through a debate in Twitter. Freelancers who network and collaborate on projects can use Twitter to find former colleagues from past companies with whom they lost touch. The platform makes it easy to interact and connect with people and businesses who share your interests and goals. Twitter can also help business networking in the employment sector — it’s a fantastic way to meet and evaluate new employees.com. This movement towards a “Hire 2. Twitter offers access to all levels of people and businesses. In so many ways. Twitter acts as a portable business networking event that you can pop into when the time and availability suit you.
But Zappos isn’t the only company finding sales success on Twitter. Zappos has been a pioneer in business microblogging because a large number of its employees all use Twitter and all. and you — and you can let them talk to you on Twitter about their concerns. like Zappos. and the rest really does follow. promote the brand and its products. But Dell. and led to extensive press coverage and speaking opportunities. people on Twitter can interact with and respond to your company’s information ideas and products in ways that often lead to benefits for both sides. These potential customers have questions for you about your item. The Twitter community embraced Tony and Zappos early on.000 followers — demonstrating that the coupons not only got passed along on Twitter. you can attribute more than $500. One of the most popular examples of products and how Twitter can help sell them is @Zappos. banked large amounts of social capital (potentially valuable connections with people who know you and care about your work). tweeting links to deep discounts that have generated over $1 million in revenues. and his personal thoughts — he even operates a separate Twitter account for his cat. Zappos is fronted by CEO Tony Hsieh. Spend your time on Twitter being useful and informative about the types of problems you solve. We talk about Dell as a company that used Twitter to start reversing its reputation as a struggling brand with a poor customer image in the section “Customer service.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business 203 Offering Promotions and Products If you represent a company that has something to sell. and in return. @DellOutlet is another Twitter success story. but that they probably also got passed along via e-mail to people not even on Twitter. The airline JetBlue (@jetblue) has also . Most notably. Whether you want to sell something large (such as used cars) or something small (such as shoes). increased its visibility and reach. who tweets about his life. in their own way. your staff. Having more than 400 employees active on Twitter has improved communication and connection between Zappos’ employees.000 in revenues to less than 1. Zappos periodically offers Twitter-only bonuses to its followers. You can sell-without-selling just about anything on Twitter. such as free shoe giveaways. your company. including his schedule. his company.” earlier in this chapter. You’re in business because you solve problems and fulfill needs for people. you can find a unique home on Twitter. You may need to adjust your messages a bit so that you can shift from a hard-sell philosophy to an attitude of interaction and engagement that doesn’t necessarily follow a direct path to a sale. has also started offering Twitter-only promotions. you can probably find people on Twitter who need and want them. But after you find and flip that switch from “talking at” to “talking with” potential customers.
com and www. Two women making exceptional use of Twitter for discovering gift-givers in need are Melanie Notkin (@SavvyAuntie) and GiftGirl (@GiftGirl). Those who sell any kind of gift resource can use Twitter to reach their audiences and magnify their impact. and retweets helped spread the word. ✓ Be yourself. . music. But he joined Twitter around the same time that he co-founded a new Web startup. and conversing with followers on Twitter let the world see another side of him. Dozens of coupon-aggregating accounts (like @dealtaker) and even Web sites (http:// www. ✓ Don’t hard sell. and anniversaries is actually a pretty commonly tweeted question.coupontweet. Notkin and GiftGirl have found unshakable niches with their custom gift-finding service. Of course. JetBlue gave away 1. Promoting Bands and Artists If you’re in any way in the business of creating. bad decisions.com) are emerging to organize these coupons and find the best ones. ✓ Don’t link spam.com). Twitter users are incredibly receptive to creative people who tweet — just ask MC Hammer (@MCHammer). ✓ Follow the 90/10 advice — 90 percent unselfish tweets to 10 percent promotional tweets.com and http://www. in 2010 for their tenth birthday.cheaptweet.com). How to find the right gift for loved ones for birthdays. You can replicate their success be keeping these tips in mind: ✓ Be interesting. weddings. The former rapper turned preacher turned producer had a terrible image: bankruptcy. and excess. DanceJam (http://dancejam. the @jetblue team tweeted their location. And. Twitter can become a home away from home. ✓ Be genuine (mean what you say).204 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter had great success advertising deals on Twitter: A special $14 cross-country flight offer was snapped up by Twitter users almost instantly. place them squarely in Twitter’s elite when it comes to product sales and knowledge contribution. film.000 tickets to anyone who found them on the streets of New York City.giftgirl. whether it’s art. photography. or what-have-you. ✓ Be accessible. The advice these women provide on their Twitter accounts and the commerce they offer through their Web sites (http://savvyauntie.
So. film. Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk). upload a short video to YouTube. artist. 205 . behind the canvas. Twitter also helps artists such as Natasha Wescoat (@natasha) increase their prominence in the art world. You don’t have to give away all your hard work. MC Hammer. on tour.org) is an organization that makes it easy for people to license their work so that they retain their copyright but allow it to be shared.fm) channel. art. Start a Blip. Ryan Adams (@ryanada_ms). You can start to find them by finding out which of your real-world contacts in the industry are on Twitter or by doing a few Twitter searches to find like-minded people while you build your network.org/ about. or other work out there for people to sample and play with. the talent is what counts. and more. photographer. movies. marketing. give people a way to take a look or have a listen so that they can get to know you and what you make. Creative Commons (http://creativecommons. Take the connections that you make on Twitter and organize events and get-togethers that bring the experience offline. or set up a page that features a few Creative Commons–licensed photos. or other creative medium.fm (http://blip. or behind the lens. Give your fans and potential fans a look backstage. and she can attribute some of that increasing reach to contacts that she made on Twitter. go to http://creativecommons. offer free mp3s on your Web site. and self-promotion as an artist. Take them with you by tweeting while you travel with your music. let them know where you are! Many fellow Twitter users would love to hang out with you if you happen to be in town. how can you (as an aspiring musician. art. Westcoat’s work is finding a home in art galleries. but Twitter can also help relatively unknown people make it to the top for the first time. or Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah)? Here are some simple tips that you can follow: ✓ Surround yourself with successful people. or other person who makes a living in the creative industries) find success on Twitter if you aren’t already on the level of Dave Matthews (@DaveJMatthews). ✓ Share your content. Whatever you do. and so realworld connections can really lead to new opportunities. We don’t mean just others in your profession or field who are more successful than you! We also mean people in other fields or areas of creativity that inspire you. Also. ✓ Tweet on the go. ✓ Take it offline. in the van. In creative industries. You can also find out about other members’ tweetups that are relevant to your business.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business MC Hammer is a pretty cool example of how you can use Twitter for rebranding. but put your music. and opportunities to build your loyal fan base. For more information on how Creative Commons works. fan segments. videos. John Mayer (@johncmayer).
You may find balancing traditional corporate professionalism with the level of transparency that Twitter users have come to expect to be a little tricky sometimes.com/tag/actor).com/ musicians-guide-to-rocking-twitter). Sharing Company Updates If you have a new or growing company that you want to introduce to the world through Twitter. and other celebrities (http://wefollow. For the most up-to-date examples of how musicians (http://wefollow. Twitter is a medium that rewards authenticity. and watch as they spread the word about your work to their friends and followers. Reach out to people whom you can genuinely and unselfishly help. TV personalities (http://wefollow. ✓ Attach a real-world face to the account. yes. candor. check out some of the top mostfollowed individuals in each category on user-generated Twitter directory We Follow or follow Leslie. comedians (http://we follow. ✓ Be yourself. but don’t try too hard to project a persona that really isn’t authentically you. and transparency. Twitter people notice if you aren’t being real. as long as what you offer has genuine value. com/tag/celebrity) are using Twitter. so keep these guidelines in mind when you start your new account: ✓ Provide value to the Twitter community. just as Laura did with @oneforty.206 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter ✓ Engage your fan base. and the fans will follow. actors (http://wefollow. If you need to use a company logo as the avatar because of internal regulations or because multiple people are maintaining the account. Establish your company’s leadership in providing ideas. or information that’s more than just a series of links to products and services.com/tag/comedy). ideas. who focuses two-thirds of her business on helping those in the film and music industries and who often shares advice on Twitter for up and coming creatives. and you. solutions. solutions. Educate your Twitter followers. You can even offer sales incentives for products. Engage them in good conversation. Don’t worry about impressing people — just do what you do and be yourself. entertainment. Answer them. make sure to list the names of the actual people who are tweeting in the Bio section of your business’s . Your company account can become a source of news.com/tag/tv). your experiences. Don’t just post static links to content or schedule changes! Talk to your fans and respond to them through Twitter. Try too hard to put your best face forward and you may lose yourself and stop being genuine. in the way that @DellOutlet does. For more in-depth reading on how musicians can use Twitter. start a separate account for the company. They probably want to ask you about the thoughts behind your work. Let them. see (http://pistachioconsulting. com/tag/music). and innovation. Put a good face forward.
Every company has a different style. Apple built its community by building great products people get passionate about. and consider signing each tweet with the author’s initials. Whether self-promotional or not. and even customer support administered from one Apple fan directly to others. remember how powerful and engaged community can be and remember what people actually engage around — the things they really and truly care about. you never want to clog up peoples’ Twitter streams with irrelevant information. So as you approach the Twitter opportunity. This approach gives people a peek at what makes your company run. the community concept of sharing and connecting can help you spread a positive image and good comments about your company. sales. like Boston’s NPR news station WBUR (@WBUR) does. ✓ Don’t spam. it’s a good idea to openly discuss your plans to demonstrate that you’re taking a productive. it can veer into feel-good. you do need to consider just how much you can say about what goes on inside your business. People like to talk to other people. not brands. talk about milestones for employees. Before tweeting in earnest for your company. As with any public communications platform.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business Twitter profile. not by worrying about any particular tools. Apple is an example of a company that benefits tremendously from its engaged community in terms of promotion. Transparency is key. You can even hold tweetups at your office and invite your followers to stop by. . but you don’t want to disclose industry secrets in a public forum. Again. Profile an employee. 207 Building Community Community-building sometimes suffers from a kum-ba-ya perception that devalues the importance of using tools such as Twitter to connect with people. or talk about what’s going on in your office. Think more strategically about the community and what they care about and engage them with substance and real contributions. but you can still make it personal. You might not talk about your cat or your marriage on a company account. But building a truly engaged community is extremely valuable. innovative approach and to prevent any misguided fears that twittering means you will somehow suddenly start to leak sensitive company information or otherwise break reasonable corporate policies. This approach lets your followers become familiar with who’s behind the company voice and it makes them feel more engaged. At its best. Don’t flood the Twitter feed with self-promotional links or product information that don’t deliver genuine value to readers. don’t fuss too much about Twitter as a tool. It helps to have a good plan in place and make sure that the employees assigned to the company Twitter account are trustworthy and have solid judgment. done wrong. self-help banter that’s ultimately empty.
even though they have no professional or financial stake in the company. service. for example. staff. tweets a plot point or award during the show before the West Coast gets to see it).S. Pepsi was the most notably absent — and one of the most talked about using the #brandbowl hashtag. they may have become the first duo to use a branded event to promote and encourage a shared community experience. Layered onto the #SB44 hashtag experience was the #brandbowl hashtag. plot revelations that happen when someone on the East Coast. your customers begin to feel emotionally invested in your success online. Not only did legions of Twitter users give advertisers ongoing. #SB44 and #BRANDBOWL When NBC and the NFL decided to both broadcast Superbowl XLIV simultaneously across the U. their brand received all of the benefits of national awareness during the biggest sporting event of the year. a kind of foundation for concrete professional growth. nationally. voluntary feedback on their ads. . people get it. By publicizing the #SB44 hashtag for the game. and it made the game just that much more fun to watch. This means that without spending a dime on an expensive Superbowl ad. other television events and shows like American Idol. So far. and Lost opted not to simulcast or use official hashtags. For some.S. and their Pepsi Refresh social media and social good campaign got a huge boost. using the branded hashtag #HCR to drive awareness of and real time feedback on the recent health care reform bill. NBC and the NFL encouraged participants around the country to discuss the game on their social networks. and thanks to the innovative use of hashtags and Twitter. ✓ Community: Building a community means inspiring the people who follow you on Twitter to embrace your brand and create a feeling of solidarity around your business.208 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Building a community is not necessarily the same as building a network: ✓ Network: Your network is there for you and your business. the hashtag took a few of the better ads viral. The play by play online was vastly more interesting than the commentators onscreen. many people watch the Superbowl each year just for the commercials. There was a buzz in the online air as people were able to root for (or against) each team. The #brandbowl hashtag also offered a peek into how people feel about the brands that chose not to pay for regular television spots this year but to use social media marketing instead. real time. this hashtag proved even more interesting than the #SB44 game itself — after all. With a community. you can build a loyal corps of evangelists: people who are passionate about your brand. missing a chance to build a community (and to prevent “spoilers”. Already “I’m on a horse” from the Old Spice commercial is being used as a group joke. the Olympics. This was created and promoted by the people behind the Superbowl ads and the people who were planning to follow along for the commercials and give their opinion on them. or product. and planning more branded hashtags in future. and hashtag it. government is a different story. If you can engender the community feeling through your use of Twitter and how you interact with your customers. The U. however.
Zappos has spent so much time building a strong community that Twitter members who don’t even work for Zappos will routinely pass along information they see or hear and will even reach out on behalf of the company and connect potential customers with Zappos. members of their Twitter network still point them to @Comcastcares to find help. such as Comcast’s cable offerings. If someone tweets something about Heap that her Twitter followers don’t like. such as Imogen Heap (@ImogenHeap) and John Mayer (@johncmayer). through the use of monitoring tools. which increases the loyalty of her listeners. Heap uses Twitter to interact more directly with her fan base. actors.com. and other celebrities are really personality-based businesses. you can expect a Zappos employee to send you a direct message (DM) or @reply in less than a day that includes links to the proper pages on the Zappos site. remaining mellow and not shrill. Then they jump in with help. Musicians. Plus. you can watch the community leap to her defense. You can also see the community around less popular products. Zappos fosters this effect by staying on top of what people on Twitter are saying about them. as needed.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business You can see this community feeling with Zappos. tweets from her Twitter community usually reflect the tone of her own calm tweets. who have come to see a more human side of her and feel like they’ve even come to know her. You can build community through ✓ Genuine interaction ✓ Asking questions ✓ Honesty ✓ Transparency ✓ Following people back who follow you ✓ Not over-automating ✓ Being more than a link list ✓ Providing value 209 . for example. Even while people express frustration about their cable service. and bringing forth those personalities on Twitter by asking questions and sharing parts of their lives cements a valuable engagement between the artist and fans. The Twitter users who follow the shoe retailer are so dedicated that they act like they’re legitimately invested in the brand’s success. If you tweet about having trouble finding any kind of shoe. Community is also a huge aspect of many musicians’ and artists’ Twitter experiences. or about shoes in general. At the same time.
If you ask a really good question and send it into the world with a #hashtag to make the answers easier to find. then you can feel relatively comfortable starting to ask them for feedback and insight. Growing your numbers naturally Although effective questions and good tagging can help your research spread beyond your direct network. it becomes a very useful tool for informal conversational research. you can use any number of polling tools or even a simple manually generated tracking system (such as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) to collect the answers and data that you receive. The real challenge is finding reliable methods to extract and analyze the data: Twitter is still a very new medium. As you build your network and start gaining more followers on Twitter. it can contribute toward closing some pretty important gaps in our economy between supply and demand. If you’re willing to experiment with different ways to watch the Twitter stream. (Tip: Don’t advertise “please follow this account” the way that Ashton Kutcher did when he was trying to race CNN to a million Twitter followers. you need a healthy following first. you can even do research with a very small following. This network will have much more value in the long run if you grow your numbers through natural conversational methods and organic back-and-forth follows. You can easily get the answers you seek after you establish a relationship with your followers that encourages participation. Larger corporations are diving in to conduct their own research and build their own tools that can make sense of the tremendous amount of data being generated on Twitter all the time. Twitter can be thought of as a global. (continued) .210 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Conducting Research Twitter is an excellent tool for crowd-sourcing and focus-group research. in order to do most kinds of research on Twitter. and even engage actual focus groups and ad-hoc communities in live events. As you ask questions. and analytics tools associated with it aren’t yet that advanced. What Twitter knows about the world is pretty incredible. including those who are both fans and critics of your brand.) When you know that you have a diverse crowd of intelligent people following you on Twitter. human-powered. you can collect passive data (what people happen to be mentioning). mobile phone-enabled sensing and signaling network. and sharing. because the tag attracts curious bystanders who may later become new followers. conversation. do active research (asking questions and conducting polls). and once businesses understand how to work with that information.
Twitter can. listen to what your customers are trying to tell you and respond to that feedback. Here’s how to achieve transparency: ✓ Release control. After you find that line for yourself. being genuine and transparent on Twitter becomes second nature. help you find out before it’s too late that a new flagship product is flawed. it simply means being honest. and staff. you can form stronger. Although many Twitter users find themselves becoming more casual in their use of the service over time. among other things. admitting to mistakes. spread the word about your excellent customer service directly from the customers that were involved. disclosing your biases. more genuine . look at the hashtags #motrinmoms and #amazonfail. Lest you think we’re asking you to live out that unpleasant dream where you forget to wear your pants to school. They used Twitter to express their anger and ultimately get the campaign suspended. your business. relax. Instead. The truth is. In the former example. When you acknowledge that your business and you occasionally have rough patches. services. painkiller brand Motrin put out an online ad campaign that targeted mothers. it failed spectacularly when real moms took offense at its content. you haven’t been able to control your message for a while now: You might just not have known it. The Amazon Fail incident happened when books pertaining to gay and lesbian themes were suddenly pulled from the online retailer’s bestseller lists. Transparency fosters trust and relationships. It’s no secret — people like to work with people they like. For example.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business (continued) 211 Take it slow and wait for a solid. relevant network to build up instead. Transparency doesn’t require exposing company data to corporate spies or baring your soul for the Internet. Twitter users smelled something fishy and instantly started spreading the word. Any forward-thinking business that has transparency on the mind or wants to remain on top of brand perception at all times has started to use Twitter. Stop worrying about what might happen to your brand. and invite interested customers to come to reallife tweetups to find out more about your brand. Again. and your employees. More than anything else. engaged. But your business and you can begin to thrive on the real-time feedback about your products. ✓ Admit to problems. Going Transparent Transparency is a crucial marketing buzzword for some businesses and a scary reality for others. and not trying to force your message and spin on everyone all the time. you need to find your own personal comfort level between acting like a real person and over-sharing. Both companies learned from going through this process that a better Twitter listening practice would have helped them address concerns early and prevent a conflagration.
perhaps you shouldn’t say it on Twitter. Like with any new tool. and if you embrace it.212 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter connections with your community. you can be rewarded with unexpected benefits like loyalty. Obviously. and that Twitter is a very open and searchable public forum. Twitter’s community is pretty cooperative. Here are some thoughts to get you started: ✓ Remember that if you wouldn’t say it in front of your parents. not just specific tools.or two-page set of reminders or direct employees’ attention to the parts of your existing HR policy that cover public communications. Remember to apply common sense and manage based on behavior and results. If you’re engaged with the community in a genuine way. Make the guidelines basic. blogs. honesty is the best policy. Before you start using Twitter for your business. Your existing guidelines about e-mail. You can simply write up a one. and easy to follow. That personal touch goes very far in establishing and maintaining a positive perception of your business or brand. have to restrict and curtail their Twitter use because of privacy issues. But. or boss. ✓ Be proactive. people forgive most mistakes. That said. That kind of open disclosure has limits when it comes to some professions. see Chapter 9) and reaching out to them. advocacy. clear. and even conversations with outside individuals cover any concerns that you have about your employees’ use of Twitter. Definitely set a few ground rules to help avoid common mistakes. What If My Employees . Twitter is extremely new to many people. as well as government agencies. and even organic. so the exercise of common sense is in order. business owners often feel some uncertainty and concern about how to manage employees so that they don’t waste time or make costly mistakes when using Twitter. . voluntary promotion of you and your work. Errors can — and will — go farther. faster. But for most businesses. . it is important to take heed that information spreads fast on Twitter. . provide staff with guidance on how to use it and what to be cautious about. Don’t stop seeking out the customers who are talking about you (you can find them by conducting regular Twitter searches. and they may not yet be familiar with just how public and open it is. people in the legal and medical professions. kids. ✓ Reach out continually. commenting on Web message boards and forums.
✓ Manage your time on Twitter well so that it doesn’t interfere with your workload. Unless your business has other issues that come into play (for example. Twitter can probably help you find that missing piece. it can be misconstrued that way. The very existence of this book is an example of Twitter bringing people together for knowledge sharing and collaboration. if you work for a law firm or government agency). you need to send out only a few tweets about your project. and information gathering. problem. such as a chart or a link to a relevant study. and gather business information and research. keep private information under wraps. Avid Twitter users are all aware of the same thing: By helping out others. Respect clients’ privacy. Even if the complaint you tweet right after a client phone call wasn’t about the client. collaborate both inside the company and out. Twitter can be an extremely valuable tool when it comes to building your professional team and bringing them together. these basic rules should be enough to keep people from abusing their time on Twitter. the better you can weather any economic buffering.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business ✓ If you do something confidential at a company. ✓ Respect the company brand when you’re out at tweetups (Twitter-based meet-ups) and events. and more — and your staff can connect more easily by using Twitter. 213 Sharing Knowledge You can also use Twitter to share knowledge. which led to a . as well as your company’s. The more of a team you can build. as well. After you start to build a healthy network. You can set up meetings. Say that you come up with a major presentation about what your company does or sells. Anyone can get quoted at any time. especially if you spend time interacting on Twitter and building your network. Laura got to know two Wiley employees on Twitter and in person at conferences. they can get a hand when they need it. but you need something to complete it. or issue before people come out of the woodwork to try to help your business and you. If you haven’t been building your Twitter network. collaboration. People on Twitter usually offer a helping hand when it comes to knowledge sharing. ✓ Perception is reality. meet customers. you may have to wait a while for this aspect of Twitter to become useful for you. tweet notes. Customize them however you want.
. and they had all come to trust one another over time. We also reached out via our personal Twitter accounts and @dummies on Twitter to ask the broader Twitter community what they thought belonged in a book about Twitter. Laura in turn had met Michael and Leslie via Twitter-related conversations and events.214 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter conversation about Laura writing Twitter For Dummies. of course. our Web site. Moving forward.oneforty. and. we’ll continue to listen and interact via the @dummies account. via the community at Laura’s Twitter-powered community on www.com.
We also go into detail about the social benefits of strong Twitter connections and provide tips for building and participating in a supportive Twitter community. the service can likewise be used by individuals to build strong social connections. your Twitter network can help in a myriad of ways that range from the prosaic (such as recommending a favorite pizza place in an unfamiliar town) to life-saving (coordinating disaster relief efforts in real time). or when anything else happens that they want to share with a supportive network of people. As we show in this chapter. Through these connections. when they get a promotion or a new job. providing support to your support system itself. Many users instinctively turn to their Twitter network when they need to commiserate over a loss for their favorite sports team. communicate with stakeholders. but Twitter is a support system for your support system.Chapter 12 The Social Side of Twitter In This Chapter ▶ Using Twitter as a support system ▶ Connecting with people ▶ Making new friends ▶ Deciding who to follow ▶ Getting quick answers ▶ Sharing information J ust as businesses can benefit from using Twitter to build goodwill. Twitter keeps you connected in real time with the people in your life. . one can tap a wealth of resources that were heretofore unavailable due to limitations of time or distance. and establish personal relationships with customers (which we talk about in Chapter 11). when they lose a loved one. Using Twitter as a Support System Most people don’t realize this.
Bing. when couples divorce. and if you can. Although Twitter is useful for supporting global causes and events. all day. your expressions of frustration and loss are often met with an immediate response. like a cafe or restaurant. Twitter has also proved useful for couch-surfers. Twitter empowers humanity to act humanely. While connecting with your friends on Twitter. The more people you connect with. animals in need. bring another friend with you. Twitterers reach out to one other through the trials and annoyances of everyday life (such as not having enough quarters at a laundromat) to crises of every size and measure. Of course. For many. the most poignant uses of Twitter can just as easily be found in the simple ways that users help each other. thereby increasing the breadth of your network to a sometimes embarrassingly large number of people. Meet them in a public place. Pay attention to your instincts — if something doesn’t feel safe. . every day. and more.216 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Twitterers have used the service to help displaced families. new friends can successfully meet and interact with each other offline. As always. it probably isn’t. exercise caution when meeting people for the first time. who have come to know interesting and accommodating people in different fields of expertise. and even researchers who need people to take part in focus groups. Twitterers have been support networks when loved ones are in the hospital. job-seekers. or Google) and become their go-to place for help and support. victims of natural disasters. Connecting with People Because all Twitterers use the same toolset and (as far as Twitter is concerned) play on the same level. Twitter has replaced search-based electronic resources (such as Yahoo!. Depending on the nature and the strength of your network. so you’re not alone. Twitter isn’t meant to replace your offline network of lifelong friends and family — it’s a technology designed to enrich that network. one at a time. it is remarkably easy to connect with people on the service. abuse victims. When you use Twitter. when relationships break up. the more your follower/ following numbers go up. you may meet new friends and start to get a better feel for the people (both new and old) whom you can trust. Because Twitter helps people get to know each other on a more personal level. asking your friends on Twitter (both the ones you now have and the ones you’re making) for guidance or opinions can yield more detailed and varied advice and help than you might receive if you had turned to only your offline network.
to avoid hitting the “follow ceiling. it doesn’t matter as much as you might think.” If for some reason you hit that ceiling.” in this chapter. and you run the risk of losing your account entirely if other users block you or report you for abusing the system. unethical. But if you share posts that others find valuable (in other words. It takes time for people to notice you. It is not a good way to quickly build a Twitter following. This is why the more ruthless gamers follow and then unfollow everyone that they target. The more aggressive “follow spammers” unfollow everyone in order to keep adding more and more and more. For more information. has limited the number of people that users can follow to 2.000 until the user is followed back. be patient and build a network of actual connections. and then you will automatically be permitted to follow more new people. in turn. Anxious to have lots and lots of followers? First. or even by clicking the block button on their Profile page. a couple of tools (which we won’t name. You personally can help curb these gamers by not following back anyone you suspect is doing this. It’s also pretty questionable how engaged those tens of thousands of “followers” actually are. and strongly against the overall Twitter community spirit.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter 217 Gaming for followers Twitter networks are based on trust and reputation. These people then unfollow the users who don’t follow them back within a couple of days. The network generated is random and low-value. Twitter. Some Twitter users (and we won’t name names) are addicted to increasing their follower count and will use many tricks to artificially increase their number of followers. in an effort to curb these users. and one of the first metrics that people tend to use when deciding whether to follow someone is how many followers that user already has. In fact. some Twitter users try to improve their follower/following reputation by collecting as many followers as possible. you don’t have to do anything but wait for your ratio to balance out. Second. you’ll need to have posted a few updates or tweets first. These individuals aggressively follow hundreds of people with the hope that the followed users follow them back (and many do). and the ratio of following to followers. But this behavior is seen as obnoxious. When a Twitter account is blocked by a large number of users. and some of which Twitter has already suspended) automate this process. Consequently. not collections of usernames and large follower numbers. Does gaming followers give you a really high number on your follower count? Yes. check out the sidebar “Gaming for followers. Do yourself a favor and do not be tempted to play any of these games. Twitter’s spam team investigates the account and suspends any that are violating the terms of service. you . by a similar number of accounts.
flickr. The Fail Whale started life as a birthday card design called “Lifting the Dreamer. The adoption of the Fail Whale by the twitterverse was a sign that Ev. You can find Fail Whale plushies. Instead of becoming upset that their darling service was down. but Twitter pulled it off.com/photos/7909366@ N04/2879231531/). Twitter has a variety of kitschy graphics that appear when the service has problems. towed by seven Twitter-logo-like birds (four of them are flying backwards). organic connection with a stranger on Twitter. The shared experience of losing access to the service fostered a sense of community so quickly among its users that they ended up adopting the Fail Whale as their mascot for banding together in tough times. Whether you do something as simple as get (or give) a much-needed answer to a question. There are other “failure” graphics — kitty cats with screwdrivers (no longer used). Twitter is based around people and their networks. especially if you have esoteric interests. the Twitter founders. t-shirts. Getting more followers may take a while. . or bond over something fun (such as music or sports). and a Fail robot. Twitterers reacted differently to the Fail Whale.218 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter write tweets that people find interesting or informative). the “just chill” ice cream cone. They made t-shirts. The first time you make a real. but having a following of attentive and interested listeners trumps having a large number of followers any day. Real connections power Twitter — those connections are the heartbeat of your Twitter community. Few companies are able to transform a potential disaster into a point of culture for its users. but it’s also a bit thrilling. who comes out to play.” designed by Yiying Lu. an owl. which typically occur when the servers become overloaded. you’ve just made your first Twitter-friend. Most frequently. connect for business. and Jack. but none has engendered the love and following of our dear Fail Whale. it might feel a little weird. Best known is the Fail Whale. its growing pains revolve around service outages. each time the service goes over capacity. That sense of family and community transcends obstacles and gets things done. a mythical brew (see http://www. They created a contest for designing a label for the Fail Whale Pale Ale. and more. the unscheduled maintenance caterpillar. had indeed hit a home run. your follower count will grow organically. Biz. Adopting the Fail Whale Twitter is still a young service. These interpersonal networks are the most important aspect of this simple and (we admit) quirky service. it has had some growing pains. and although it has grown exponentially. mugs. What makes that plot twist interesting is how emblematic it is of how users feel the service as a whole.
you may start to feel like there are a whole lot of shared memories and assumptions that you’re not a part of. Without that network of connectivity. Twitter returned with a graphic of birds holding a whale out of the water. One of the most common issues with Twitter during its early days was downtime — the server frequently became overloaded with too many users writing too many updates. but also to embrace the problems and create solutions. Although users couldn’t access their Twitter accounts. The picture and euphemism for Twitter down time was born: the Fail Whale. Don’t worry: New people are joining Twitter all the time. 219 Figure 12-1: The Fail Whale appears when Twitter’s traffic exceeds its server capacity. leading to significant site downtime and unacceptable levels of quality of service. From the period of . pictured in Figure 12-1. the development team was nice enough to let you know what was going on: In place of whatever screen you expected to see. But the power of the connections and the format of the service kept it going. Twitter went through some serious technological growing pains while it got more popular. what does all this connectedness have to do with you? If you listen to longtime Twitter users talk about it. So.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter In its early stages. no one who uses Twitter would have had the patience to not only stick around while the people behind the service worked out the kinks.
Making friends on Twitter is much like making friends in the real world: If two people have things in common (for example. and conventions on Twitter. if you want! . take a look through those people’s Profile pages and URLs to get a better feel for who they are. Most people start out feeling like the stranger at a cocktail party. Well. Also. . and if you want people to trust you on Twitter (just like if you want people to trust you in any other circumstance). Twitter’s interface makes it pretty easy to figure out if someone is worth following — just look at the person’s Twitter Profile page. We’re just filling you in on it so that you have some idea how these past feel-good moments apply to you. Twitter doubled its user-base at least three times over. the camaraderie among Twitter users is based on trust. and then do so. you really need to add value to the Twitter streams of others and act in a way that inspires trust. coming from the same home town). and even lifelong (virtual and real life) friends. share a common interest (such as politics). Making New Friends In life. At first. To be effective. however. it is a real conversation. over time. check out her timeline. read her bio. a friend is someone with whom you share a connection. . For one thing. But most people will say hello and expect you to respond to them and tell them a bit about you — just as they would in a real conversation. You will be rewarded with interesting new connections. you really ought to give as much (or more) than you get back. So. and follow her if she seems interesting. you might have trouble believing it. In fact. ideas. if you receive a flurry of tweets welcoming you to the service. they may become friends. or simply find each other fascinating. and you shouldn’t feel shy about what came before. lexicon. But on Twitter (and on most of the Internet). and whether you’d want to strike up a conversation with them . Twitter users tend to share something unique or tell about themselves in their Twitter Profile page. That means pretty much everyone is new. either inside their biographies or URLs — or both. It’s therefore not unusual to hear about the friends and real-life connections that people make on Twitter. many people start interacting with strangers. Twitter’s past has established the underlying tone. and existing Twitter users might not start a meaningful interaction with you right away.220 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter November 2008 until the final touches were put on just the first edition of this book. the word friend can have a number of different meanings. Many Twitter users naturally follow people they know and trust.
Say that you’re a huge cupcake fan and want to connect with other pastry buffs. Laura frequently challenges new users to search for the most obscure keywords around their work or their favorite hobbies. you can quickly and easily find those people by using Twitter Search (see Chapter 9) to see who’s already talking about your interests. Put differently. search for it. people love to know that you’re interested in what they have to say. to find people they have something special in common with. have at it! Go ahead and start @replying to people and stir up a conversation. their Web sites. A recent search result. this party has cupcakes. You can do this simply by running a Twitter Search for cupcakes.) If you’re the type of person who carefully chooses her conversations. but if you want to look for individuals who share your interests. you @reply to her. a whole lot of what goes on on Twitter is about “What do we have in common?” more than it is about “What are you doing?” . If you tend to be the life of the party. 221 Searching for topics of interest Conversations crop up all the time on Twitter. in real life and on Twitter.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter If you express interest in other people and what they say or do.) Figure 12-2 shows a sample search for cupcakes. You may find sending that first tweet to a potential Twitter connection a bit daunting. “I’m about to make cupcakes as well! What’s your favorite recipe?” The two of you can go from there and may happen to start a relationship about your mutual love for baking cupcakes. In general. You can find people with whom you want to start conversations through the public timeline. what do you say to a total stranger? How do you say it? As a general rule. “about to bake cupcakes!<3<3” depicts a woman who seems excited at the prospect of making her cupcakes (those <3 characters are meant to be little sideways hearts showing how she loves cupcakes). (In a perfect world. they tend to reciprocate. The fancy name for this is social object theory — the idea that two people who discover a common interest are more likely to form some kind of direct connection to one another because of their connection to (and feelings for) the shared interest. think of Twitter as a giant cocktail party. You’ll ultimately find that your own personal style for meeting people in real life translates pretty similarly to Twitter. so if you want to see what people are saying about something you’re interested in. as there’s no single right way to tweet. You decide what approach you want to take. and the things that they’ve tweeted so you can pick your conversations carefully. After all. Twitter gives you a lot of ammunition: Take a look at people’s bios. By way of starting a conversation. so you want to see what people are saying. (We cover Twitter Search in detail in Chapter 9.
222 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Or maybe you find the prospect of maple cupcakes intriguing. you haven’t talked to them yet. direct messaging works only if the person is following you.) Figure 12-2: Searching for cupcakes. The Twitter-based community occasionally organizes meet-ups in real life — the common thread being that they’re all part of a community from . for example: “@AliciaSue82 hey! Hey you! Maple cupcakes sound fantastic! Where’d you find that recipe?” On Twitter. Start a conversation by replying to them directly. in all likelihood. you can get a pretty good sense of who people are. Because Twitter profiles link to other resources and relevant information on their profile owners. So. Twitter-based relationships often transition into relationships in real life. they’re probably not following you. as some techies abbreviate it. Twitter-based events Through conversations on Twitter. That user seems like a great person to ask for a recipe if you want to make them. you’ll find yourself getting to know people a lot better than you expected. (Or. And because. many smaller communities have cropped up. you might feel tempted to try to direct message them. IRL. too! While you’re going through the public timeline or the search results to find people who have information you want or people with whom you want to interact. However.
In fact.000 twitterers to 200+ events in cities around the world. in between flights during a layover. @twestival jumped to international consciousness — and headlines the world over — by drawing out 10. and what they’re like).com). In addition to impromptu tweetups. In April 2009 the main @twestival organizer Amanda Rose (@amanda) traveled to Ethiopia with charity: water founder Scott Harrison (@scottharrison). via IAH.org) to build safe. you might be able to find people in that city to meet for coffee or drinks. As with nearly every term relating to Twitter.sm4sc. In just a few short weeks. When all was said and done. and others to film and dedicate the first @twestival well drilled. out of curiosity or boredom. having the ability to figure out who they are before agreeing to meet them certainly benefits you. 223 . two popular charity events.twestival. what they say. and @twestival (www. clean drinking water wells in developing nations. Twitter investor Chris Sacca (@sacca). a massive series of tweetups on February 12. and.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter Twitter. some people have had great success in meeting people in the most random of places — for example. So. Your mom was partially right about not talking to strangers. as of this writing. Anyone care for a game of Scrabble during my 2-hour layover?” A fellow traveler might be. Twitter is another avenue by which you can find people. raised $250.000 for charity: water (www. Because Twitter is just another medium by which people connect.charitywater. you can be a bit safer in making the jump to an offline connection. because Twitter connections are based on trust within a community (which you can measure by seeing who people talk to. searching Twitter for new people to meet and might take you up on your offer. if you happen to be in a new town on business. and because the medium allows you to easily build relationships. In our experience. because Twitter makes reaching out to new people so easy. shown in Figure 12-3. www. Say that you’re traveling from New Jersey to Colorado with a layover in Texas. but by meeting in public and by finding people you actually know in common.com). you can also make such meetings safer by screening people before meeting up with them. it should come as no surprise that these meet-ups are sometimes referred to as tweetups. meeting people offline doesn’t feel as taboo as it used to. you may not see meeting offline as such a stretch. are @SM4SC (Social Media for Social Change. or visiting friends or relatives (and need to get away). of course. 2009. You might send an update to Twitter: “Flying EWR to DIA. Not only can you look for common interests to talk about before meeting people (which certainly jumpstarts the awkward early phases of any conversation). the digital-media folk on Twitter (the Twitterati) have organized and promoted a number of charity events through Twitter.
and take pictures. Sean and Jesse decided to stop by and settle the identity question once and for all. Although you may find meeting people in airports for board games an advantage to having some Twitter credibility. anyone could be masquerading as the muchloved star of 1996’s smash-hit genie coming-ofage comedy. trade notes on Shaq’s Android Googlephone versus Jesse’s Window’s Mobile device.and offline. By being active on Twitter — practicing the philosophy of transparency and having genuine interactions — you can increase your circle of friends and connections both on.224 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter The real Shaq story At first. Shaq tweeted again: “I feel twitterers around me. you can use your online network as quite a resource beyond the fuzzy stuff (which we discuss in the section “Using Twitter as a Support System. As it turns out.html. com/2009/02/finally-use-fortwitter. While the two friends worked up the courage to say hello.blogspot. if u c me n public come say hi. You can also merge your offline circle of friends with your online circle of friends in ways you never could before. the more your network works for you. they were being invited to share Shaq’s booth. Sure enough. So. we r not the same we r from twitteronia. say somethin” Within moments. you can get your followers to answer questions you can’t find answers to anywhere else! . r there any twitterers in 5 n diner wit me. Kazaam. and the man himself was tucked in a corner booth. After all. In Shaq’s words: “To all twitterers. the more solid connections you have with your Twitter following. Shaq’s truck was in the parking lot. We talk more about being genuine in Chapter 10. we connect” Celebrities and brands who use Twitter to build audiences become approachable on their own terms — even in real life! You can find more information about the story at http://sesquipedalis.” earlier in this chapter). Jesse Bearden didn’t believe that his friend Sean was getting regular updates from the real Shaquille O’Neal on Twitter. If you have a valuable network. when @THE_REAL_SHAQ updated his status to tell his followers that he was having a meal at the nearby 5 & Diner. increasing your social reach exponentially.
Some people tend to follow everyone they interact with.000 until they have roughly that number of followers themselves. other twitterers may use the Following tool differently than you — just because they don’t immediately follow you back doesn’t mean they’re not going to in the future.000 followers. not just because he’s following you. we have different advice for you in Chapter 11.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter 225 Figure 12-3: On the Social Media for Social Change Web site. you can see what events are coming up.) To prevent spam. Once a limited account reaches close to or over 2. There is no single “right” way to go about deciding who to follow. Twitter once again allows it to go out and follow more accounts. . (If you’re on Twitter for business purposes. Some people diligently review who they follow and trim out users who are no longer relevant to their lives. and others never look through their Following list. To Follow or Not to Follow? Everyone has their own methodology for whom they follow and how they follow people on Twitter. but others judiciously control their following counts. the Twitter team has limited the number of twitterers that users can follow to 2. Our rule is simple: Follow someone if you have a reason to follow him.
If you decide to use that kind of technology. so play things by ear and develop your own personal style of what you are comfortable with. so go ahead and ask! You might be surprised by the answers you get. make first contact openly to keep with the transparent and welcoming nature of Twitter. someone can likely answer your question. use these technologies with caution. Some people and businesses choose to make first contact with their new followers by sending a direct message. and it’s not always possible to tell which approach your new follower prefers. and mention why he might want to keep in touch. (We cover hashtags and Twitter Search in Chapter 9. and others do nothing at all. Getting Quick Answers Have you ever had a seemingly simple question that has bothered you for days and days? Well. why not ask Twitter? If you have a solid network of Twitter friends. sending her a DM can be insulting. thank the recipient for the follow.) If you’re on the fence about what to do to acknowledge someone who follows you. or have unknown talents and knowledge bases. both in person and on Twitter.226 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Every user has a different ritual when she gets a new follower: Some people @reply their new followers to acknowledge the follow. and you naturally gravitate towards a routine that works for you. People tend to know a variety of things. but others might view a direct message as intrusive or antisocial. You can write a very personalized direct message to say hello. if the person doesn’t like receiving direct messages from new people that she follows. . That sort of outreach can be antisocial and irritating. Some users enjoy receiving such direct-message greetings. and. some direct-message their new followers to say hello. which usually happen only after you spend time to get to know someone. Search for the endautodm hashtag on Twitter Search to get a sense of how unpopular auto-direct messages can be. Some Twitterers go so far as to use third-party services to automatically send a thank-you direct message to people who follow them. Twitter doesn’t have an official protocol about what you’re supposed to do. There’s no hard and fast rule. be forewarned that many users hate these automatic DMs. Direct messages are meant for private conversations. So. some Twitter users have rallied around the hashtag #endautodm in solidarity against auto-direct messages. As a side note.
shown in Figure 12-4. you can read more about it here: http://en. In addition. JetBlue.m. For example. So.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter In fact.org/wiki/Fifth_Beatle. some brands and companies are beginning to use Twitter as a customer-service tool. in California trying (vainly) to remember the name of the fifth Beatle so that you can stop obsessing and go back to sleep already. whether locally or on the other side of the world. though.) 227 Figure 12-4: JetBlue notifies customers of weather delays and where to go for flight-delay information through Twitter. someone probably knows what you’re looking for or is having a similar conversation somewhere. and communicate with customers. Try hunting down the answer first by yourself before asking your Twitter network. someone who knows the answer is probably awake on the East Coast or not yet asleep in Europe. Some users consider it rude and inconsiderate to waste their time with silly questions. and are willing and ready to answer customer queries. perhaps asking the fifth Beatle’s name is poor form. uses Twitter to send customers information on flight delays. Hop on Twitter and ask! (The Fifth Beatle’s name is Stuart Sutcliffe. You might ask your followers if they have any movie recommendations. if you’re awake at 5 a. go to bed already!) Some people consider tweeting a question whose answer you can easily search on your favorite Internet search resource impolite.wikipedia. educate. and they may unfollow you. (In Chapter 11. So. according to some. . For example. we explain how businesses can use Twitter to their advantage to help.
ask Twitter. they have the exact same tools that you do and are as accessible as they want to be on Twitter. So. your question may have just gotten lost in the noise. Want to know what Yoko Ono thought about when she was writing one of her pieces? Go ahead and ask her! (@yokoono). not just something selfish or easily looked up elsewhere. you just might get an answer. and fact checkers on Twitter who aren’t famous but are eager to help you. not just to simple ones. more professionals. you earn trust. knowledge. Your growing network of contacts on Twitter also earns your trust.228 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Accessing the experts By using Twitter. you still have to do additional normal research and fact-checking. reliable. remember that everyone else reading your updates gets all those messages. many celebrities and industry mavens have many. Always check your facts. Twitter is a trust-based network. You’ll also find many industry analysts. While Twitter grows in popularity. If you ask something of them and don’t get a response. For example. interacting with the community. but you can definitely get pointers in the right direction much faster than you can on your own. . graphs. After all. In short. and point people at companies are actively using the service to further their own publicity. respect their time by asking something relevant and interesting to them. don’t be a rabid fan. but if you’re sending them public messages in your timeline. ask Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman). with your Twitter account comes an army of experts and pundits who have research-heavy charts. celebrities. and reports on a wide array of topics. and information. number crunchers. too. you can probably trust that the link will take you to a page that’s helpful to you. and outreach. If you’re doing some research for work and want to find the most useful sources. but you can get valuable. if you want to get a better sense of what it’s like to be an Australian actor working in America. many of the relationships you have on Twitter are with people whom you trust and who trust you. People on Twitter can be very generous with their time. stats hounds. and sharing your ideas and knowledge. In the process of building connections. But again. So. If they have the time and see your question. many followers — and those popular folks are often inundated with questions and @replies. if someone in your trusted network sends you a link. and accessible information through Twitter. Feel free to try to talk to them in the future. Despite their celebrity. knowledge. you can find quick. knowledgeable answers to more serious questions. As you can probably imagine. That trust-building goes both ways. Of course.
rumors can spread as easily as facts across Twitter. in the heat of an event or moment. a favorite amongst many Twitter users. you might have a bit of fun reading their tweets while they argue the finer points of crust thickness. In the end. You’ll find that people share everything — from recipes to complex PowerPoint presentation files or slide decks — seemingly without a second thought. your next office manager may come from your Twitter following. so take each piece of information with a grain of salt. you know how much legwork you have to do (if any) to validate her claim. you’ll likely have a few pizzerias and restaurants to try out (and more information about your contacts’ food preferences than you bargained for). geo-location. someone on the scene probably has Twitter and is telling his network about it as it happens. perpetually spreading false rumors reduces your reliability as a source to your followers. If you have contacts in both Chicago and New York. cheese selection. Ask your Twitter network for suggestions on where to go. If anything newsworthy happens on the local level. traditional journalism and fact-checking still has a place.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter 229 Information about breaking news The real-time nature of tweets makes Twitter an ideal resource for breaking news. and topping distribution. Depending on how much you trust the person who’s providing the updates. Getting recommendations Twitter’s a great resource for getting recommendations from your friends and contacts. Or perhaps you’re looking for the best Chicago-style pizza in New York City. Follow @breakingnews for the latest in breaking news. Although Twitter has proven itself to be a great tool for getting live updates and eyewitness reports. By the same token. A great way to start is by asking your Twitter network for help in staffing that position. audio. If the twitterer uses any of the services that can post to Twitter accounts (such as Utterli. Sharing Information One of the things that new users notice quickly on Twitter is the abundance of shared information. or Brightkite). and sometimes video information. In fact. as well. his network is also getting real-time pictures. Sometimes. . TwitPic. Say that you’re an employer looking for a reliable office manager.
You can control who you interact with on Twitter and what kind of network you find value in cultivating. You’ve built (or are building) a network of Twitter users whom you can trust. and Internet resources. Another way many Twitter users share information is by linking to other Web sites.230 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Sometimes. but it doesn’t have to be. Giving up control might sound a little scary. Addressing that concern requires a fundamental psychological shift in thinking: Part of the success of Twitter is the concept of giving up some control over the information you release to your network. blogs. If you’re concerned about your information becoming public.” Sharing with your network increases the value that you have to that network and allows your network to grow. nefarious characters do crop up on Twitter. ways you can reduce your character count so that you can maximize the information and commentary you can include. either block or simply ignore him. We cover linking in Chapter 9. or what you’re thinking about. people question the motives of those sharing or worry that the people who see and use the information might somehow steal it. To quote an old adage. The nice thing about Twitter is that it’s pretty selfpolicing: If you’re concerned about a user. or poach information for notso-up-and-up purposes. protect your updates and allow only people you trust to receive your tweets. They might try to socially engineer networks. . what you’re doing. including how to go about linking to other sites. artificially build reputation. Whom you share with can be just as important as what you’re sharing. Like with any online service (or any gathering of human beings for that matter). “Sharing means caring. and linking etiquette. It also shows that you care enough about the people in your network to share what you know.
Twitter becomes a touch-point by which users try to improve their worlds.Chapter 13 Changing the World. and geographies. In this chapter. So. as well as world and local events aided by Twitter. interesting things start to happen. Twitter has become accepted by many as an extremely effective tool for social change on both a local and global level. we share true stories of global and social-change initiatives that either started or were facilitated by the use of Twitter. T Twittering the Globe for Change Twitter offers a platform for immediate news delivery and instant communication with millions of twitterers around the world. interests. One Tweet at a Time In This Chapter ▶ Twittering the globe for change ▶ Organizing people online and in real life ▶ Engaging in citizen journalism witter is a great communications tool for businesses and persons alike. and it has the potential to connect people and create relationships over a variety of discussions. despite the seemingly confining 140-character limit. We close the chapter with a few examples that illustrate Twitter’s ability to spread messages of goodwill and world improvement through its user base. . When people use Twitter to grow their communities and share observations and insights on issues and situations that matter to them.
shown in Figure 13-1. But. See @twestival and www. But the idea caught on when some of those followers decided to make it a worldwide effort.charitywater.charitywater. and even new twitterers are likely to encounter someone who can share one of these only-on-Twitter stories. volunteers raised more than $275. . Twestival continues on. In April 2009. Twestival The first Twestival. You also increase your reputation as an authority on a given topic if you write credible posts and articles and share these with your followers. Charity events Twitterer Amanda Rose (@amanda) is widely acknowledged as the driving force behind Twestival (www.232 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Quite a few individuals and organizations have begun to use Twitter for outreach. you may become a Twitter story yourself — you just have to reach out. Heck. a series of events that raised awareness and funding for a nonprofit organization called charity: water (www.com for more information. tens of thousands of users have made strong personal connections on Twitter: new friendships and relationships.com or @twestival).org). as well as occasionally sending links to valuable and verifiable information. Ultimately. as well as new and fruitful professional connections. raising funds. and a number of other ways for effecting positive change.K. Users who know how to tap Twitter’s potential for swiftly spreading their ideas are able to get rapid and powerful results. Amanda traveled to Ethiopia to witness and share the drilling of the first Twestival well and to raise awareness of charity: water’s work and provide a behind-the-scenes look at clean drinking water issues.twestival. to benefit a nonprofit called charity: water (www.000 followers.000 around the world for charity: water. mobilizing grassroots efforts. on the simplest and most mundane level. was held on February 12. a worldwide event with more than 200 participating cities. One can call attention to issues or events by consistently tweeting relevant information in digestible snippets. and most Twestivals were put together in only a few weeks. Generating the interest took a matter of days. These connections spring up on Twitter all the time.twestival. publicizing activities and events. sharing news.org and @charitywater). 2009. from a single Twitter user who had fewer than 2. thanks to Twitter’s ability to rapidly disseminate ideas and information. which uses donations to build wells in developing countries. This night of music and friends got its start in the U. where access to clean water is scarce.
shown in Figure 13-2. . Other twitterers donated money and gathered at a fundraising social event in Boston to help victims of domestic violence through Gradon Tripp’s (@gradontripp) Social Media for Social Change (@SM4SC). Howard Lindzon’s blog (@howardlindzon).Chapter 13: Changing the World. 233 Figure 13-1: Twestival supports the nonprofit organization charity: water. charity: water is not the only nonprofit to have benefited from Twitter’s broad reach and influence. One Tweet at a Time charity: water (founded by Scott Harrison.000 and placed charity: water and the concept of microgiving (donations were $2 each and made directly through Twitter) onto TechCrunch. Mashable. Just as Twestival planning was kicking off.com founder Pete Cashmore and Facebook developer Dave Morin have hosted Twitter campaigns for donations. Social Media for Nonprofits guru Beth Kanter (@kanter) conducted the first Twitter-based charity fund drive we know of when she decided to send a young Cambodian woman to college with a little help from her friends. The Huffington Post. and dozens of other old and new media outlets. Laura’s own Christmas-and-birthday wish effort @wellwishes raised $25. Beth’s ongoing work usually benefits Cambodian orphans via The Sharing Foundation. @scottharrison) is one of the best-known charities with a presence on Twitter. Internet luminaries such as Mashable. largely because of a note Twitter founder Biz Stone (@biz) included in an August 2008 e-mailed newsletter.
Twitter even launched a page specifically for campaign-related tweets and worked closely with Al Gore’s (@algore) company Current. the shortcomings of U.234 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Figure 13-2: @SM4SC raises $20. but also the sentiments of people from around the world: disillusionment with the administration of George W. and the rise of Barack Obama (@barackobama). choosing the platform as an important way to interact with prospective voters. Politics You can gauge the impact of an issue around the world by checking Twitter. Twitter users live-tweeted debates and stump speeches. During the 2008 United States elections. foreign policy. Bush.000 for the Jane Doe foundation. making fun of political gaffes and snafus. bonding over some candidates. Staffers caught on to the fact that politicians can use Twitter to measure the buzz about them in real time. Barack Obama’s team was in on the ground floor when it came to the use of Twitter as a publicity and organization tool. news junkies used Twitter to follow not just the issues. and overall creating a real-time political metric that instantly became a media favorite. During the election. Twitter users began to follow and monitor politics in real time. the rapidly deteriorating economic situation. and even less-active twitterers turned to the service to keep tabs on what was going on in the world of politics as it happened. In the weeks leading up to the election. .S.TV on a video-text integration of tweets into their election-related broadcasts.
Chapter 13: Changing the World, One Tweet at a Time
The night of the U.S. presidential election, Twitter was nearly brought to its knees by millions and millions of shared concerns, excitement, questions, voting reports, and a massive buzz of connection around the events that were unfolding. Twitter’s technological system took on massive traffic from all over the globe and managed not to crash, although there were time delays, especially in the SMS-to-Twitter message flow. It was amazing to share it all virtually with friends and loved ones from around the globe in real time on our phones and computers. The reactions were varied, but no matter which side of the fence you were on, you were a part of the first, truly real-time, global reaction to a national election. Barack Obama’s election victory was historic for twitterers, in more ways than one. Twitter also helped people around the world aggregate their reactions from other social-media services. TwitPics, YouTube videos, Qik channels, Utterli and TalkShoe voice posts, and plenty of other services all fed into Twitter in a massive data stream that pretty much anyone around the world could access.
One of the most interesting evolutions in Twitter during 2009 was its real time use in times of unrest. As a mobile tool for immediate, portable, on the ground communication it has quickly become indispensable. One of the largest examples of this was its use during the Iranian elections. As the elections moved forward and questionable practices were employed, Twitter users around the world began to see a trickle of tweets coming from inside Iran. These tweets, which grew exponentially in number, were being used by the Iran citizens to keep the lines of communication open with the outside world as Iran officials tried to silence their protests. By tweeting the addresses of proxy servers, the locations of fallen or captive citizens, the areas of unrest and protest and violence, Iranians were able to bring to light the practices of an election that, from all appearances, was far from fair. People outside of Iran were able to help through the power of retweeting, to use tweets to see if friends and family were still okay inside the country, to connect help to those who needed it, and to use Twitter’s Locations feature to confuse the computer servers that were trying to track the Iranian people who were keeping the information flowing out of the country. Twitter was so important to the Iranian protestors that the U.S. State Department requested that Twitter, Inc. hold off on a maintenance update that would have had a few hours of blackout during the Iran daytime. In the end, the use of Twitter not only had the immediate benefit of keeping many safe, it also shone a light on an election that went against the citizen vote. The jury is still out on whether this created immediate change for Iran following the election, but it set a precedent of transparency and connection later employed in our own U.S. politics throughout the year, notably in the 2010 health care debate, leading up to and after the passing vote.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
Twitter has also caught on as an extremely important medium for naturaldisaster reporting, such as hurricanes Gustav and Ike, wildfires and earthquakes in California, and the massive and tragic 2008 earthquake in China, as well as countless smaller hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, and tornados. These days, with so many people using the service, news of major weather events often break on Twitter long before the mainstream media reports it. You can use Twitter as a sort of tracking service for weather events and other surprises across the globe. Follow weather in real time while it moves from place to place, just by watching the tweets of people you follow. Government agencies (see Figure 13-3) can find tremendous value by tapping into Twitter as a real-time system for sensing and signaling events around the globe. Because of Twitter’s open application program interface (API), programs that use Twitter’s search and trends data to help people survive and thrive in future disasters are only a matter of time.
Figure 13-3: FEMA embraces Twitter.
Chapter 13: Changing the World, One Tweet at a Time
Twitter has value to individuals beyond news reporting and storm tracking, too. Twitter users can also connect with far-off family, friends, and colleagues to check on their status after a major weather incident in their area. You can use Twitter as an immediate channel to get information about what’s happening and, more importantly, do something about it.
Using Twitter for social change goes beyond fundraising, though. People also use Twitter for some very unique problem-solving: Among the more unusual projects is one fronted by user @maratriangle, who has been on Twitter since its early days and uses the service to track and catch poachers in Africa (see Figure 13-4). With a standout avatar in a green beret, he has developed a network of Twitter users all over the globe who make sure no reports of poaching go unnoticed.
makes sure that poachers don’t go unnoticed.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
Twitter can effect real global change by facilitating data-sharing for professionals across borders. One teaching hospital tweeted during a live surgery to educate students who couldn’t actually be at the surgery. Other people have suggested using Twitter to share medical and prescription data anonymously from doctors to pharmaceutical companies so that pharmaceutical firms can see in real time which prescriptions are being prescribed where. The ability to collect this type of data also has implications for disease tracking and outbreak control, though anyone trying this must tackle the obvious privacy issues before such a use could be considered. Twitter certainly has lofty potential for global connections on a large scale. So, how can you use it yourself? Be patient. After you build a following on Twitter and become a respected member of a strong network, you can help rally others to a cause, or even get a hand when you need some help. Your Twitter network can help you relocate across town or across the globe, find a new job, reconnect with lost family members, and even research your history and genealogy. In one dramatic example, the use of Twitter helped someone escape potentially dire circumstances. When James Karl Buck was arrested in Egypt, he immediately tweeted a single word: “Arrested”. Instantly, his followers and colleagues were alerted to his situation and mobilized the help needed to secure his release. Read the story at www.cnn.com/2008/tech/04/25/twitter.buck.
Organizing People Online and in Real Life
Twitter makes organizing group activities both online and in real life easy. People have used Twitter to solicit volunteers for events, rally a group around a cause, push get-out-the-vote efforts, find speakers for conferences, scout locations for get-togethers, or just have impromptu tweetups (a term twitterers use to refer to spontaneous real-life meet-and-greets). Twitter helps people take online interactions into the real world. As Twitter becomes more popular and enters the mainstream, however, Twitter users may want to exercise some basic common sense when meeting people offline for the first time. Make sure to meet in groups and in public places, and tell someone where you’re going and with whom. While the vast majority of the people we’ve met on Twitter are trustworthy, we advise you not to make rash decisions about your safety.
Chapter 13: Changing the World, One Tweet at a Time
You can use Twitter in such a wide variety of ways because of — you guessed it — how open-ended it is. Because Twitter doesn’t have any forced rules of use, beyond common courtesy and a few guidelines about balance in followers (see http://twitter.com/faq), Twitter users can craft their own strategies for how to use it. You can read more about Twitter etiquette in Chapter 7 and security and safety in Chapter 10. Perhaps the best example of Twitter’s organizational power is Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. The Obama campaign used Twitter in conjunction with other social-media tools to rally grassroots support. Representatives from Obama’s team used the Twitter account @barackobama to post updates on the candidate’s whereabouts, announce rallies and donation drives, and answer questions from ordinary twitterers. By using Twitter, the campaign helped to foster an idea of transparency and togetherness. Even more interesting than Obama’s use of Twitter was how his supporters used it. When Obama supporters on Twitter began to use their avatars and background images to display their support for him, the idea caught on and spread rapidly across Twitter. Twitter avatars changed to Obama-themed icons in solidarity to the cause; twitterers updated bios and tag lines; and people pointed their personal profile Web links to Obama’s campaign site. For a service as simple and stripped-down as Twitter, Obama supporters certainly found creative ways to use it to show their affinity. Now that Obama has been in office for some time, you can see an alternative organizational effort underway among conservatives on Twitter. Feeling underrepresented on Twitter, pugilistic, and calling themselves the Top Conservatives on Twitter, these individuals use the #tcot hashtag to represent themselves, and to stir support for their after-election goals and events (see Figure 13-5). Organizing on Twitter does come with some risks. Because of the crowd mentality, Twitter opinion can turn on a dime. Everything discussed on Twitter is so real-time and in the moment that something can be trendy one moment and passé the next. Take the time to set up some foundation work first — a Web site that has accurate information, a universal hashtag, and keyword tracking. Your potential attendees and volunteers will know that you mean business if you use such tools. As we go to press, infighting amongst the #tcot community has disabled some of the Web sites built to support and display their efforts, but you really can’t own or stop a hashtag. It belongs to those who use it most.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
Figure 13-5: A #tcot search, showing politically conservative tweets.
Organizing on a small scale
You can use Twitter to rally people around a cause at any level. We mention some bigger examples in the preceding section, such as Beth Kanter (see Figure 13-6), who once raised $9,000 for The Sharing Foundation orphans in 90 minutes onstage and via Twitter during the Gnomedex technology conference, and Twestival nonprofit raising $275,000 for charity: water. But what can you do in your own communities? Even if your big idea is a local one, you can take advantage of Twitter to make it happen. Twitter empowers the user to locate and organize like-minded people online around a common goal or idea. If you need volunteers to fundraise for your child’s class trip or school supplies, you can probably find them through your Twitter network. If you want to start a book club, try using Twitter to find members.
but it doesn’t have to be all work and no play. socializes online and plans dinner parties. including Twitter. They trade recipes and ingredients. Twitter users have banded together on creative projects of all sizes. some of which were started by corporate marketers. and spread the word about new restaurants together (see Figure 13-7). and other offline excursions to celebrate their passion for food. restaurant weeks. Banding together for creative purposes If you want to drum up user-generated content for your company or clients. This community is both international and local.Chapter 13: Changing the World. solve cooking problems. Marketer HubSpot often gathers people in the Boston area — both company employees and . including those on the lighter side of life. One Tweet at a Time 241 Figure 13-6: Beth’s Blog is a resource for how nonprofits can use social media. Food and spirits enthusiasts have been taking advantage of Twitter lately: A thriving foodie community. Organizing on Twitter does help serious causes. for example. or use that content on a Web site or blog. Tyson Foods uses Twitter and its blog to generate blog comments that trigger in-kind donations to food pantries. at the same time. then you can often find enthusiastic participants by reaching out via Twitter. You can use Twitter as a tool to organize whatever kind of group you want.
lyricists. You can find co-authors.rpmchallenge. and cast whole online Webisodics (television-style video series based online only) via the service. such as the RPM Challenge (www. Do you need to organize an audio or music challenge. people who play various instruments. Mmm! . Creative content from Twitter is definitely not limited to commercial purposes. written. letting interested participants help the project in real time. When they need to change a plot or scout a location.242 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter outsiders — to “star” in musical videos about inbound marketing (a marketing strategy that encourages companies to get found by customers. Twitter users have planned. Twitter can come to the rescue. by allowing people to participate or express interest in your idea. shown in Figure 13-8? Twitter can help you do that. and more. Twitter is also a fantastic tool for collaborating on projects. and they do it by rallying the troops on Twitter. just by shooting out a few strings of 140 characters into the Twitter universe. Figure 13-7: Planning to eat food.com). contrasted with outbound marketing or pushing marketing onto customers) on YouTube.
TwtVite is a relatively new event-planning site purposely built for Twitter that incorporates the Twitter avatars and profiles of those who sign up. Planning an event If you plan events — whether they’re small. Your landing page can be a blog.Chapter 13: Changing the World. A unique hashtag will eliminate confusion.com) to make sure that no one else is using that hashtag.org (www.org) or Twitter Search (http://search. a Web site. or an event page on a site such as EventBrite. Create a landing page. Amiando. and generating interest. Take a minute to check Hashtags. recording offers of help. and drive attendance. scout locations. impromptu meet-ups or large weekend workshops or seminars — Twitter can help.hashtags. Twitter itself isn’t feature-heavy enough to provide all of the information to your potential event-goers and volunteers. Even though you’re doing most of your organizing on Twitter. locate equipment. Here’s how you can make the most of Twitter for your event: 1. score discounts. 2. or Upcoming. You can use Twitter to find speakers. Make the landing page an off-site location for signing up. .twitter. Choose a hashtag (keyword) for your event. One Tweet at a Time 243 Figure 13-8: The RPM Challenge Web site.
the theme. If you’re planning something larger than a simple two-hour tweetup. You can generate interest and allow the tweet to get legs and be retweeted (RTed). and other related keywords. who signs up for the event. Massachusetts. your hashtag is a great place to start.244 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter 3. start spreading the word! Don’t let talk of the event completely dominate your Twitter stream — you can lose followers that way — but make sure to highlight your event adequately. Several free services such as Google Alerts or BLVDStatus conversions (see Chapter 9) will meet your basic requirements. set up basic alert tracking for your event. . Figure 13-9: A tweetup in Lowell. When your event landing page is ready. on TwtVite. and venues that have offered help (see Figure 13-9). When you need to decide what to track as your keyword. You can also track the venue. Now that you have laid the foundation for tracking interest and attendance to your event. 4. make sure to keep up with who has volunteered assistance. You can also use a paid media monitoring service such as those offered by Radian6 (see Chapter 9) to track your event.
you can catch a glimpse of the Twitter Taste Live phenomenon (hashtag #ttl). and abroad. One Tweet at a Time 245 Taste Live Wine and spirits enthusiasts have caught on to using Twitter as a community platform. You can even use a free tool such as WebNotes (www.Chapter 13: Changing the World. especially the international community of wine lovers that organizes virtual tastings and realworld events.com) to track what people have offered to do. Can you plan a full-blown conference by using Twitter as your main tool? Yes.net) or EverNote (http:// evernote. keep thorough records to help you manage all the tweets related to it. though: They tapped the power of their Twitter network to take it offline. as well as onto other social-media channels.S. and other logistical issues. This online event was started by Massachusetts wine shop Bin Ends Wines. you can! Planning a conference takes a little more finesse than a short tweetup or business function. If you turn to Twitter on most Saturday nights. The store didn’t just stop with Twitter Taste Live online events. you may find planning a big event the 140-character way relatively painless. but it’s very doable. Coupled with your tracking methods. who’s coming.webnotes. . If you do plan to go big by organizing a large event on Twitter. such as Ustream. and it has taken off as a concept all over the U.
or stories to CNN’s Web site. Thanks to service technologies like mobile phones and portable video cameras. videos. which allows anyone to upload photos. and other technology. real-time conversations it fosters into their on-screen time. man-on-the-street reporting has become a reality — and an important part of 21st-century journalism. Twitter is a big part of this phenomenon. Now. but they were the first to embrace it so openly via Twitter. @cnnbrk) and popular shows such as The Ellen Degeneres Show.246 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Engaging in Citizen Journalism You may have first been turned onto Twitter by hearing about it in the mainstream media. Twitter is even making it into nontechnical print publications such as The New York Times. We don’t know whether CNN was the first national news outlet to embrace citizen journalism. such as Pure Digital’s popular Flip video camera and better phones with Twitter-friendly services (such as Qik). Even before its exposure on mainstream media. CNN then features some of those iReports on TV. Citizen journalism hits the mainstream Mainstream media outlets have been turned on to the social-media craze. real people can report on real events as they’re unfolding. the CNN iReporter interface. Musicians are tweeting to bypass regular radio and sell more music. News outlets such as CNN (@cnn. thanks to Twitter. too. and CNN has been at the forefront with its iReport initiative (see Figure 13-11). Twitter had already become a natural outlet for the phenomenon known as citizen journalism. Celebrities are adopting it as a way to beat the paparazzi at their own game and give their fans a more direct voice to listen to (see Figure 13-10). and The Oprah Winfrey Show have all begun to incorporate Twitter and the global. Twitter is cropping up in print media. The View. . as well as interact with more fans.
full force. That man on the street can be any person who has access to computers. and Twitter brings that roving band of citizen reporters into sharp focus. Now. do a little factchecking before you take it as the gospel truth. sharp-eyed users are quick to catch onto it and are just as quick in telling their friends and colleagues what’s going on. or audio recorders. When a fraud starts making the rounds on Twitter. cameras. video cameras. One Tweet at a Time 247 Figure 13-10: Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and his wife Demi Moore (@mrs kutcher) dive into Twitter. Twitter users offer a kind of natural checksand-balances system for the twitterverse. seems to be very good at self-policing. like user-created encyclopedia Wikipedia. so do take everything you read with a grain of salt. and it allows you to report events right away with no fact-checking at all. anyone can be the journalist. by using TwitPic. phones.Chapter 13: Changing the World. How does Twitter fit in? Twitter is the darling of the instant-gratification crowd. respected media outlets. If it’s a story that’s not being reported on by the major. . Being a Twitter journalist Twitter.
Twitter users were arguably the first people to hear about it because eyewitnesses posted instant reactions. which hosts photos and tweets a link to them on the user’s Twitter account.com/jkrums/status/1121915133) using a third-party service. a Twitter user on board a ferry that raced in to rescue passengers. . He instantly posted it to Twitter (http:// twitter. The Web traffic going to the photo was so overwhelming that TwitPic’s servers temporarily went offline.248 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Figure 13-11: iReport and citizen journalism. @jkrums. The astonishing photo was retweeted and passed around Twitter so quickly that it hit international media outlets within minutes (see Figure 13-12). Janis Krums. took an incredible iPhone picture of the floating plane and the passengers being evacuated. A January 2009 news event that highlighted Twitter’s potential for citizens to act as journalists was the emergency landing of a plane in the Hudson River in New York City after a run-in with migrating birds led to the loss of both engines.
One Tweet at a Time 249 Figure 13-12: Pictures of the plane that landed in the Hudson River first ended up on Flickr. the number of Twitter-generated #AmberAlerts has risen. Unlike the unofficial #AmberAlerts.Chapter 13: Changing the World. directed by the Twitter users who took them. Twitter was used to pass word of a blood drive to help victims. @helpfindmychild is an organized international effort coordinated through one office to use Twitter to find missing children. As a part of the citizen-journalism movement. Citizen journalists can do more than just observe — Twitter’s immediacy and portability (because of its availability on mobile devices) makes it possible for people to report during the moment. and TwitPic. Recently. Twitter is helping make the world safer for children. not just afterwards. Help Find My Child and other similar organizations have also been working on finding lost children through Twitter. During the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Tumblr. and several children have been reunited with their families because of the observations of regular people who cared and paid attention (see Figure 13-13). which don’t come from a centralized source. .
offer proof that your news is valid. you must be vigilant and ensure that the news you’re spreading is true. where most Twitter rumors tend to die out. The most basic thing you can do is link to a reliable source or. asking others to share verification. Once BBC had reported the rumor. While Twitter and the rise of the citizen journalist both augment and replace mainstream news. subsequent tweets linked to the BBC page. credit the proper sources. if you can’t verify. deliberately misleading. and flag those twitterers who are inaccurate or worse. and the rumor persisted. The BBC learned this lesson the hard way when they posted an unverified rumor during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Twitter and other forms of citizen journalism are changing the world for the better. but users need to fact-check. .250 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Figure 13-13: Amber Alert on Twitter for missing children. post the item as a question. Tweeting accurate info How do you credit a source on Twitter or assure people that the news you tweet is accurate? As much as possible. Their page said Twitter was the source but did not link to a tweet that would support or deny its validity. Here’s how: ✓ Include a link.
✓ Build a network based on trust and continued reliable information. Link to that blog in your tweets. Retweets of your posts give them a level of validity because retweets prove what you say is worth repeating. but several other .com) that lets you record short. ✓ Don’t underestimate the power of the retweet. leaving you no way to comment. The retweet (where one of your followers repeats your tweet for the benefit of her own followers) is critical to networking and viral spread. Most third-party Twitter clients have built-in buttons next to each tweet in your stream that let you easily set them up for a retweet. the 140-character limit means that you have to take out names or letters to make the message fit.qik. 251 Gathering your journalistic tools You can use these tools to prepare for your Twitter-inspired citizen-journalist moment: ✓ A mobile phone that has a camera and/or video camera: Most cellphones have at least the former these days. you have more space to credit the sources of your news. Two different videos of pro-Tibet protests made it to the world from the 2008 China Olympics because of Qik. And make sure that you have a cellular data plan so you can send your photos. try to credit the original poster.Chapter 13: Changing the World. Twitter clients offer you a choice between the two retweeting methods. One Tweet at a Time ✓ Create a companion blog. Make sure to go into your blog after you send your tweets and credit each story wherever possible. then post it to the Web. ✓ If you retweet. ✓ Qik: A free Web application (www. and the video posts to YouTube. Always make sure that you leave the name of the twitterer you are retweeting to acknowledge your source. Pure Digital Technologies manufactures this video camera. even though both videographers were detained. ✓ A Flip video camera: A nice. just like Twitter. but you should also be certain that the people in your network feel the same about you. affordable way to grab live video of an event while it happens. It posts a link to Twitter so that your followers can view the stream live. as well as to the Qik site. and even chat. each of which have different applications depending on why you are sharing the other user’s tweet and what you may want to add to it. Sometimes when retweeting. Not only should you make sure that the people you follow and associate with are trustworthy. Twitter has added a feature that quotes the tweet verbatim. In this blog.com and its official mobile apps. live videos and broadcast them for free online.
252 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter electronics companies (such as Kodak) make similar. . If you ever take live video or pictures of people. pocket-sized video cameras. it should be common sense to get their permission or. Depending on where you are. which accept mobile uploads for sharing your still photos. it may be illegal to post those images without the subjects’ permission. consult a legal professional. to at least warn them that you plan to broadcast the images or post them online. if circumstances don’t require permission. If you intend to capture video or pictures for distribution online with regularity. ✓ An account on a free photo-sharing service: These services include TwitPic and Flickr.
Part V The Part of Tens .
L In this part . we highlight neat tools. ike every For Dummies book. and uses for Twitter that you may want to check out while you’re tweeting away. In this part. . . we include The Part of Tens in Twitter For Dummies. . services.
of course. which give you a fun sampling that will give you some sense of different ways you can use Twitter. see Chapter 9. so the list of tools that you can choose from is always growing. New tools. keep track of who’s talking to you or about you. as well). and. So. To help get you started.com Type: Desktop client TweetDeck is an Adobe Air application that gives you the tools you need to keep track of large numbers of people in your Twitter stream. The following tools are the best that we find right now. popular new tools emerge all the time. services.com at http://one forty. (For more on Adobe Air. Web sites. Each time we tried to come up with a list of the top ten tools. and much more. but that might change by the time the book goes to print. we realized it’s just not possible — too many great innovations are being built on Twitter’s “platform. we want to tell you about a few of our favorite examples. and applications are created for Twitter users every day. Y TweetDeck: Connecting with Many www.) It allows you to put people in groups. Literally. because of this problem.” What is the best tool for you really depends on your needs.com/i/toolkits. keep permanent search windows open.com for the latest and greatest. view your Facebook account (and post to it selectively. check out oneforty.Chapter 14 Ten Twitter Tools In This Chapter ▶ Organizing your Twitter world with the right applications ▶ Getting down to business with the help of Twitter tools ▶ Connecting your Twitter account to your other online accounts ou need the right tools to get the most out of Twitter. It does all this in a customizable interface. . we’ve compiled a list of tools at Laura’s oneforty.tweetdeck.
and preferably. For now. repeated.twhirl. we have directories. and has since become the official iPhone mobile Twitter app. . ✓ Search and listening (Twitter Search): Search tweets in real time. Seesmic Desktop: Managing Multiple Accounts www. We also include some of the best examples for each: ✓ Networking (Twellow. or also shortened the link. It can be overwhelming.256 Part V: The Part of Tens Six essential types of tools The Twitter ecosystem is really complex. ✓ Desktop client (TweetDeck & Seesmic Desktop): Dedicated software on your computer that makes interacting with Twitter easier. FriendorFollow): Your network is the most important thing about Twitter.fm. but it makes up for its shortcoming in the ability to have multiple accounts open at the same time.com/ tweetie-mac). but tools to find. ✓ Multimedia sharing (TwitPic. TwitterBerry/BlackBerry. ✓ URL shortener (bit. Twhirl is missing a few key features for managing (and listening to) many followers. Inc. A shortcut to make sense of it is to think about six essential types of tools that most any twitterer should try. Tweetie used to also be an iPhone app. Last. Recent contender to the throne is Tweetie for Mac OS X (www. monitor keywords and hashtags. keep some kind of records of how many people clicked. Utterli): Embed and share links to photos.atebits. and keep track of your connections aren’t that great yet.. or audio. and subscribe to search results. follow. Qik. to make your Twitter stream a whole lot more than a bunch of text.ly): Make links fit into 140 characters. keep track of what you’ve linked to. video. ✓ Smartphone client (Tweetie/iPhone. however it was acquired by Twitter. PocketTwit/ Windows Mobile): Dedicated software on your phone that makes interacting with Twitter easier. a video messaging company that has fully integrated its video service into the new desktop application for Twhirl.org Type: Desktop client Twhirl is owned by Seesmic.
for example.com/twitter Type: Smartphone clients If you have a mobile phone. you should look at CoTweet.com/p/pocketwit http://blackberry.com Twhirl offers ways to interact with some of your other favorite social services. Make sure that you have full disclosure in your profile somewhere if you have multiple people tweeting for your company or you have a ghost tweeter tweeting for you.ca (http://identi.ca) or 12Seconds (http://12seconds. such as identi. but the planned feature set should take care of most of your company or organization’s Twitter needs. Even more frustrating.facebook. and FriendFeed (http://friend feed. authors usually sign the end of their tweets with an ^ and their initials. you may have trouble finding the perfect Twitter client.com/ seesmic_desktop) which offers a great deal of functionality beyond Twhirl and beyond Twitter. Like the social media listening tool Radian6. this service is hit or miss on features. CoTweet lets companies assign individual tweets to employees for follow-up. . all carriers use different browsers and standards. 257 CoTweet: Corporate Tweeting https://cotweet. Smartphone Clients Twitter. (http://seesmic. PocketTwit.Chapter 14: Ten Twitter Tools Also available from Seesmic is Seesmic Desktop. and TwitterBerry http://code. Still in beta (meaning that new features and functions are being added all the time). For shared accounts. tv). Facebook (www.com).com Type: Business dashboard If you want a corporate solution that lets multiple users monitor and update a single account and displays all of your Twitter accounts in a single interface. from keeping organized and letting more than one person maintain an account to scheduling tweets ahead of time.com).google.
Though there are other options on the market for the BlackBerry. ✓ PocketTwit: For Windows Mobile phones that have touch screens. (We talk about TweetDeck in the section “TweetDeck: Connecting with Many. Use more than one solution to find followers if you want to get a more interesting and beneficial demographic.twellow. the best client out there. in a slick iPhone interface. but Twellow was the first. but some of the attached services may come with hidden costs for use if your phone is not already on unlimited data. It doesn’t have the sexiest interface. It’s like having TweetDeck on your phone.) ✓ Twitter for BlackBerry: The folks at RIM have cooked up their own Twitter application for BlackBerry handsets. Here are some of our favorites for each platform: ✓ Twitter: If you have an iPhone. Check your carrier’s data and text charges before using these services. companies. 2010.com Type: Networking .) Find it in the iTunes App store on your Apple device.com Type: Networking Many directory sites have come and gone. but it has a fantastic database of easily searchable. accurate information about people. as of April 1. multiple-account management. and a nifty. PocketTwit is made by Google Labs and offers several nice features. and categories. ✓ TwitDroid: For Android phones. (And that’s not an April Fool’s joke. It also has a companion desktop client — an added bonus.” earlier in this chapter. the official Twitter iPhone app (previously called Tweetie 2) is the way to go. Twellow: Finding People to Follow www. FriendorFollow: Managing Followers and Followings http://friendorfollow. try the one by RIM. avatar-included interface. Twitter may be free.258 Part V: The Part of Tens making it impossible to find one client to fit all phones. for the most pure Twitter experience.
jobs. who’s following you. business. Also make an EventBrite (www.com Type: Miscellaneous This quick and easy Web site lets people tweet out their RSVP to your event. facebook.TwtApps. travel. This service offers the added bonus of marketing before the event while people tweet about their attendance. and then link these blog bits up on Twitter. and which follows are mutual — all in a nicely tabbed. . and you never know whether that user might have just missed you.com Type: Publishing This handy service lets you schedule periodic scrapes of your blog for new posts.php?id=2344061033) page to make sure that you’re giving people a way to connect if they don’t use Twitter yet. and even virtual pets. It then keeps track of who has RSVPed for you.eventbrite.com/apps/application. It’s worth mentioning that TwtVite parent www. Twitter doesn’t require you to follow someone back. 259 TwtVite: Event Planning http://twtvite.Chapter 14: Ten Twitter Tools This Web site lets you see whom you’re following. Twitterfeed gives you a simple and easy way to drive traffic to your site or alert friends to a new post without having to remember to do it separately.com also offers eight more helpful and nicely integrated Twitter tools covering polls. Twitterfeed: Getting Your Blog Posts to Twitter http://twitterfeed.com) or Facebook Event (www. avatar-based grid. greetings. Try saying hi with an @reply to see whether you can get to know that person better. And you can fix any follower/following discrepancies right from the site interface. Don’t unfollow people just because they don’t follow you back.
Now.com) and applications such as Quicken to help you keep track of your business and personal expenses on the go. You can also add comments on the pictures themselves. TwitPic and YFrog www.twitpic. After configuring your account.com Type: Multimedia sharing TwitPic and YFrog are popular image-sharing services for Twitter. .com / yfrog.260 Part V: The Part of Tens Set Twitterfeed to check your blog only every few hours to prevent your Twitter stream from seeming spammy. Because the updates are made via direct message. you don’t have to worry about your followers seeing the information. Users can upload photos via camera or mobile phone and then share those photos on Twitter. freshbooks. You can use Xpenser to get yourself in the habit of recording your expenses. Xpenser: Keeping Track of Your Expenses http://xpenser. simply send a direct (private) message to xpn to keep track of your spending. reporting your business lunch or tracking your gas mileage is only a tweet away.com Type: Financial Xpenser is a neat tool that integrates with sites such as FreshBooks (www.
Actual humans maintain and update it. and Oprah coming to Twitter. not an automatic RSS feed. many businesses. causes. StockTwits @StockTwits http://www.com Type: Financial.bnonews. and people are creating Twitter-based presences.Chapter 15 Ten Useful Twitter-Based Services In This Chapter ▶ Staying in touch with the world through Twitter services ▶ Organizing your Twitter life ▶ Keeping up with the folks on Twitter W ith events like the Hudson River plane crash. and hundreds of innovative Twitter-based services are emerging to support that. Cofounded by Howard Lindzon. Ashton Kutcher. and some you just use directly through Twitter. as well. here are ten that stand out because of their usefulness and overall appeal to Twitter audiences. buzz about the service is making Twitter go mainstream fast.stocktwits. . In no particular order. Because of that. BreakingNews @BreakingNews http://www. best known for mashing up Wall Street with video podcasting to create the highly successful WallStrip. and Demi Moore. It has a good track record of beating many of the major news outlets for breaking news — and it has a good track record for accuracy. Some have separate Web sites. This simple feed gives you ongoing breaking news from around the world.com Type: News.
or by using the TweetDeck plug-in.com Type: Social threading and conversation tracking. Turns out that’s pretty normal. Tweetworks allows you to engage in fully threaded conversations.com. and it even reads shortened URLs and extracts the original link.com Type: Networking. a social bookmarking service that allows you to share links with your friends).262 Part V: The Part of Tens StockTwits plays off the fact that investors who tweet like to tweet about stocks. ExecTweets www. this little tool makes it easy for you. Tweetworks @Tweetworks or www. join and create groups on any topic imaginable. online or on your iPhone with the use of public or private groups. StockTwits is essentially a community and social exchange of snippets of conversation about stocks.exectweet. a creation of Mike Langford (@mikelangford) helps you track your Twitter use by group or thread. by following @stocktwits. using Twitter as the conversation medium at its core. Tweecious even looks at the rest of the tweet and automatically tags the link with relevant categories or keywords. Tweecious takes only a moment to set up. your posts to Twitter that include links can also automagically go to Delicious. Laura pretty much laughed at Twitter when she first heard about it. and share media with single-click tagging. You can use StockTwits at its Web site. This service. People who like to keep track of a variety of Web pages and tend to lose them on Twitter may find this tool very handy. Now. Tweecious: Use Delicious to Organize the Links You Tweet http://friedcell. Like millions of other people.net/tweecious/get Type: Publishing. Once you have a Delicious account. If you post links to Delicious (http://delicious.tweetworks. But what made the difference for her was noticing that she could use it to .
if you wish. Nowadays. he’s taken to a page where he sees all the links you bunched together and can click on whichever ones he’s interested in. As new tweets are created. It takes several links and shortens them into one minimal URL that people can click to access the links. . Richard Branson? Check. we discuss that you can use Twitter to link to one URL. most successful executives. TweetGrid is a powerful Twitter Search Dashboard that allows you to search for up to 9 different topics.com Type: Search Utility. TweetGrid supports Boolean Search Operators and other advanced search techniques. meaning you do not need to type “AND” into the search. you may still type AND (in all capital letters) between search terms. interesting people who would motivate her as a homebound working mom. phrases. “AND” is assumed.tweetgrid. events. we have ExecTweets to let you easily follow the tweets of some of the world’s smartest. people. However. hashtags. leadership. Jack Welch? Check. groups. etc. but Link Bunch offers a URL shortener for bundles of links. The search results will include all of the search terms by default. and resources from some of the brightest business minds in the world.Chapter 15: Ten Useful Twitter-Based Services surround herself with successful. they are automatically updated in the grid with no need to refresh the page. 263 TweetGrid www. An example: Boolean Operator AND If two or more words are specified in the search.ch Type: URL shortener. ideas. When the user clicks the Link Bunch link. conversations. in real-time. Dive in and find inspiration. In Chapter 7. Link Bunch http://linkbun..
which includes inline links.com Type: Reading. and location. and retweets you. . talks to. or if you have a hard time following conversational “threads” back and forth. Tweetree might be your answer to making your Twitter conversations easier to read. but how you converse and engage. and other files. This little service threads your tweets into a tree.fm http://blip.tweetree. gradeable. You can use this Twitter-based music service to DJ songs onto Twitter. videos. interests. and the service allows you to make mixes for your Twitter following. If you think the Adobe Air application that you use to view Twitter leaves your stream looking cluttered.grader. than ##% of other twitterers. and helps you find people whom you may want to follow because they mesh well with your ranking. who follows. TwitterGrader http://twitter. Ultimately the grade doesn’t mean a whole lot. It has an outstanding database of songs. who you follow. The system takes into account not only how many followers you have.fm Type: Multimedia sharing. The service helps you see how you measure up to other tweeters around the Web and specifically in your area.264 Part V: The Part of Tens Tweetree www. Blip. but it will definitely show you who is active in your area. claiming that you are more. and more.com Type: Directory. This Twitter-based service ranks you using a secret formula developed by its creators at HubSpot. well. Your TwitterGrade of ## is a percentile.
As contrived as it is when you think about it. Y Plain Old Networking Twitter is an extremely powerful networking tool for several reasons. It leaves an easy breadcrumb trail back to someone she’s chatted with and sets the stage for gradually getting to know more about them — or not — over time. Laura has barely used business cards at all. random. get your latest homework assignment. we introduce you to ten cool ways you can use Twitter. face-to-face interaction. confrontational. . Twitter actually mimics the natural process of how humans get to know one another. . . low-level interactions weave the fabric of community that builds trust and holds us all together.Chapter 16 Ten Cool Ways to Use Twitter In This Chapter ▶ Making education fun and accessible ▶ Getting a planned event up and running ou can use Twitter for much more than keeping up with your friends and family. It’s so much simpler for her to connect to the person she’s just met on Twitter by sending f username as a text message to 40404. especially since you can make that connection via mobile phone right when you first meet. On a strictly utilitarian basis. People don’t like demanding. they prefer side-byside. get restaurant reviews or recommended wines. Since October 2007. Track your expenses. In this chapter. The possibilities are endless and expanding every day. Routine. random interaction around gradually discovering the things they have in common. Twitter also creates an environment of random interactions that’s really conducive to discovering new people with shared interests and for getting to know a more total picture of who someone is and what interests them. . in practice. just being able to forge an electronic connection using something as short and simple as a Twitter handle is incredibly powerful.
and more crop up to help you manage your money. in fact. Some airlines. Add in helpful financial advice from your fellow Twitter users. and donated 20. by the way. Finance As new Web applications like StockTwits. report delays. terrorist attacks in Mumbai. and more all use Twitter to keep their corporate finger on the pulse of a lot more than just brand perception. especially if you have an iPhone. and @CNNBrk competed with Ashton Kutcher (@APlusK) to be the first on Twitter to get a million followers. is now one of the top Twitter accounts. car companies. Journalists and media organizations. like Southwest (@SouthwestAir). Sourcing standards for journalism still apply. of course. or the Hudson River emergency landing in January 2009 all broke first on Twitter and were then picked up by the mainstream broadcast media. Anchors have integrated Twitter into their on-air shows. monitor problems in real time. have taken it one step further and use Twitter to track flow at various airports. Events like the recent earthquake in China. If you lose a bag or are experiencing flight delays.000 malaria nets to charity.) Travel Airlines. CNN. such as The New York Times or CNN. You can even find cab companies on Twitter that offer more innovative ways to find a ride once you’re on the ground. trains. and you can easily lose what really has happened until a definitive account is posted on a major news site. along with consumers. (Ashton won. Twitter has become a more viable method to track spending. You can connect with many travel-focused companies using Twitter. are trying to reach out and help customers through Twitter. at least by following. and so on. some airlines. . now look to Twitter as a legitimate source for news. and you can see how Twitter might become a genuine force in the financial world. like JetBlue (@JetBlue). Xpenser.266 Part V: The Part of Tens Breaking News Twitter continues to grow as a resource for breaking news.
or just on-the-fly commentary about what and where people are drinking. Britney Spears (@BritneySpears). However you look at it. are finding Twitter an effective tool to build a fan base. More people are discovering wine or spirits that they might not have encountered before. both signed and unsigned. such as Neil Gaiman (@NeilHimself) or Paulo Coelho (@PauloCoelho). actively engage fans around the world. If you’re wondering about a specific restaurant. Diddy (@iamdiddy) are among the most famous musicians twittering. Music Musicians. Books Authors and readers alike have discovered new books to read and recommended books to others on Twitter. and P. Twitter is full of readers. thanks to the real-time recommendations of Twitter friends. food blogs. John Mayer (@JohnCMayer). right from the mobile phone. And when you begin contributing. and get the word out about their music. Twitter is bridging serious gaps in the wine industry. and Spirits Yelp. They’re looking to consumers. connect more deeply to fans. Dave Matthews (@DaveJMatthews). writing groups. Chowhound. you’ll find book clubs. Famous writers. many of whom are sharing thoughts on where and what they’re eating in real time. One service. you’ll often discover a phenomenal amount of instant connection and support available on both sides of the pen through Twitter. 140Story. live streaming of tastings from personalities like Gary Vaynerchuck (@GaryVee). Whether it’s Twitter Taste Live (#TTL) by Bin Ends Wine (@binends wine). Wine lovers have found a whole new world for their passion for the grape on Twitter. but thousands of recording artists at all . one chapter at a time on Twitter. Some authors have been able to land publishing deals through Twitter. actually uses tweets to write stories. and endless Web sites that aggregate reviews or impressions of the restaurant industry are on Twitter. increasingly you’ll be able to search for the name and see what people are saying about it. and more. Wine. When you start listening. Others release serials.Chapter 16: Ten Cool Ways to Use Twitter 267 Food.
(Blip. Schools are using Twitter to communicate with their communities. such as EventBrite.268 Part V: The Part of Tens levels are making innovative use of it. observations. You can even update both at once with TweetDeck or Seesmic Desktop. including Twitter veterans Matthew Ebel (@MatthewEbel) and Samantha Murphy (@thehighwaygirl). You can manage events on Facebook using a custom application within the platform.fm around. pulling tweets right into the launch page. Classes with a Twitterfueled back channel (ideas. as well — especially with tools such as Blip. questions. Charities and Causes Charities and causes find Twitter an easy way to get word out about their passions. People use Twitter to raise awareness and money for a wide variety of international causes and charities. You can even use Twitter to give microdonations to your favorite charity. Twitter is also integrated with other event planning Web sites. quickly getting out information and cutting down on the cost of mailings. Students are tweeting questions about their homework. creating a virtual community for remote colleagues. Fans find Twitter a great place to discover new music. right in your Twitter stream. party. and comments coming from the audience) have been taught at colleges and universities around the world. or social-networking event off the ground. The ease of use makes it appealing to many agencies and groups. allowing attendees to find and follow each other before and after the event itself. Event Planning The immediacy and reach Twitter allows can really help you get your next conference. including the esteemed Harvard Business and Law Schools. The charity Social Media for Social Change (@SM4SC) exists only because of people who came together on Twitter.fm allows you to share your favorite songs with your followers on Twitter. You can find everything you need. Conference attendees share insights and links from the conference.) Education Teachers are starting to tweet their lessons. .
who tend to be the first to use a new gadget or technology. the tiny startup was known for unreliability because its rapid growth had outpaced its server power.com domain when the domain’s servers are overloaded. Many of the shorthand abbreviations on Twitter have their roots in the vernacular that arose in video games. direct messages: Private messages sent to specific Twitter users in your network (abbreviated DMs). Back then. such as the ones that pull in all breaking news headlines from a media outlet. a quick way to show appreciation or enthusiasm. expresses extreme anger with a person or about an idea. for example. often closely tied to the Silicon Valley digital-media community. Be careful with dweeting! early adopter: The enthusiastic people. dweet: A tweet sent while under the influence. But don’t get too worried: The days of the FailWhale’s rampant appearances on Twitter have been over for months. FTW: Abbreviation of For the Win. when Twitter made its first big splash. bot: An account run by an automated program. and many Twitter users casually use the expression FailWhale to show disapproval of anything on or off Twitter that isn’t working properly. hacker forums. You can often spot these bots by a generic “hot chick” avatar or their uneven follower/following ratio (meaning that they’re following hundreds or thousands of people but have only a few following them back). . are the ones who joined before or during the SXSW (South by Southwest) conference in March 2007. which put out only generic tweets. usually filled with links to Internet marketing sites or porn. The opposite of FTW.Glossary AFAIK: Abbreviation of As Far as I Know. In Twitter’s early days. You can find good bots. Twitter’s early adopters. but it can have lasting consequences for you because Google indexes all tweets. The term comes from gamer and hacker speak. But you also can find bad bots. FTL is a quick way to show disappointment or dissatisfaction. DIAF: Abbreviation of Die in a Fire. the FailWhale made an appearance as often as several times a day. FTL: Abbreviation of For the Loss. FailWhale: The image of a cartoon whale that appears when you try to load a page on the Twitter. or instant-message programs as far back as the 1980s. Drunken tweeting can be amusing for your Twitter stream.
microsharing or microblogging: The niche of social media that encompasses Twitter. Several microsharing services have already been shut down by their creators. Pownce. After using Twitter for a little while. Twitter’s equivalent of quoting. Either way. They’re surprisingly powerful. If you come across a tweet that you want to quote. and Plurk — have also specialized in microblogging.270 Twitter For Dummies. IMO or IMHO: Abbreviations for In My Opinion or In My Humble Opinion. RT or R/T: Stands for retweet. Twitter users who start to encounter this problem sometimes start to refer to their Twitter stream as the noise river. Also called @mentions. Used to anonymously quote something funny that you heard. At the time of writing. you’re going to see more and more tweets.com (http://twitter. and even communities can (and do) form around them. or if you turn on Show All @Replies (in your Twitter settings). either because you send it to the wrong person or you accidentally send a public tweet that you intended as a DM. type . it will be your username with an @ tacked on the front. hashtag: Words preceded by the # symbol. 2nd Edition FWIW: Abbreviation of For What It’s Worth.’” To see all tweets that are prefaced with OH. In your Twitter sidebar. noise river: While you add more and more people to your Twitter stream.com). OH: An abbreviation for overheard. you can find tons of Twitter metrics out there. it’s a tweet you regret sending. Basically. @replies: Public tweets directed at specific people — anyone can see them and jump into the conversation. usually in real life. #journchat is a community of PR pros and journalists who discuss their trade every Monday evening. hashtags flag something as a keyword for searches. metrics: A way to measure what the service means for business and individuals as it relates to return on the time invested.grader. OHs look like this: “OH: ‘Did somebody smell bacon? Because I sure did. follow @overheard on Twitter. as real-time (but virtual) events. mistweet: A tweet that you send in error. You may have to put forth more effort to sift through to the good stuff. Other services — such as Jaiku. check out your Twitter grade at TwitterGrader. but none of them has achieved anywhere close to the following that Twitter has. giving credit to the original user. Because Twitter has so many analytical applications built on its API.
how often they’re retweeted. DM me if interested?” By putting RT at the front of the retweet. An actual site at www. tweeple or tweeps: Some Twitter users say tweeps to refer to the Twitter community overall. Sunday at 1pm. 271 . and copy the contents of the tweet. the term twitterholic can refer to Twitterholic. twinfluence: Short for twitter influence. Also. Your 140-character updates on Twitter are called tweets. or even a late-night meeting of karaoke enthusiasts. they send you useless content. whereas others use it to refer only to those in their networks. you might just want to link to it directly. instead.com (http://twitterholic. A retweet looks like this: “RT @ pistachio Boston . Keep in mind. and you can also say.” tweetaholic or twitterholic: Someone who’s addicted to Twitter. When prolific Twitter users put out a tweet that they want people in their network to retweet (for example. “I tweeted. or any other variety of metrics. If that’s the case. how many people @reply to them. put the twitterer’s username in an @reply format. usually trying to sell you something. tweetup: A pun on meet-up. spamming on Twitter is hard because you don’t have to follow anyone. tweet: Either a noun or a verb. Many avid users toss this term about in a self-deprecating way if they find themselves using Twitter more often than seems normal.com). Luckily. Tweetups can take many forms: a get-together for Twitter users who happen to be in the same town for a concert or festival. and because Twitter works hard to remove accounts that are trying to take advantage of others and violating their terms of service (TOS). locals who want to try out a new restaurant or bar. however. tweetup refers to a gathering of Twitter users organized through Twitter. Can be based on criteria such as number of followers. a Twitter metrics application that measures the relative popularity of Twitter users. com that does social network analysis to approximate the influence of different Twitter accounts. you also make sure that everyone can see your tweet because some members choose to turn off @replies that are not directed at them.twinfluence.outdoor skating party this weekend. that retweeting adds characters to a tweet and may force it over the 140-character limit. many of them consciously keep it short to prevent that problem. just like with e-mail and other Internet tools. when they announce an event or charitable cause).Glossary RT at the start of a new tweet. spammers: Spammers clutter up your Twitter stream (if you choose to follow them) and.
twitter: Can be used as a verb (“I twittered that”) but not a noun. this word won’t mean very much. Twitterati: A pun on literati and glitterati. for example) because of that word’s negative connotations in some parts of the world. twittcrastination: Using Twitter to procrastinate on a project or an unpleasant task. these are Twitter’s perceived A-listers whom users want to follow or be followed by. You’re also not allowed to squat on any account name without using it as an active account. and with time. and services on Twitter. 2nd Edition TwitPic: One of the most popular third-party applications built on Twitter’s API. the guys behind Twitter deal with these people quickly if the person or brand in question wants that name back (William Shatner. TwitPic lets you upload a photo. applications. Note: Don’t say “twit” (“send a twit” is never correct. New users can request (and frequently receive) usernames abandoned for more than six to nine months. bona-fide celebrities are starting to tweet. often in hopes of some kind of personal gain or monetary profit. which is to connect to the people that interest you the most.com). and others have been victims of squatters).twitpic. also called a feed. Luckily. to TwitPic (www. It’s a lot beside the point of Twitter. Twitter squatter: Much like a domain squatter on the rest of the Web. Steve Wozniak. Twitter stream: The constantly updating and flowing timeline of everyone that you choose to follow on Twitter. which automatically sends a tweet that links to the picture and provides the caption of your choice. Fortunately. not just the most popular. meaning the entire Twitter community and ecosystem of other related things. tools. .272 Twitter For Dummies. someone who claims the Twitter username that corresponds to a popular brand name or the name of a famous person. often from the camera on your cellphone. twitterverse: The universe of people.
153 annual report. 156–157 AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). 185–186 viewing your network. 93–94 Apple. 226–227 @anywhere platform.Index Symbols and Numerics @ (at sign). 68. 183–185 targeting specific networks. 190 importance of. 187 profile page authenticity. 24 12Seconds. 107 abuse. 32 editing photo for. 71 revoking application permission. 101 managing multiple. 10 API (application programming interface) defined. 140–142 age requirement. 10 alert Amber. 34 defined. 182 measuring influence. 148. 33 thumbnail image. 165 Google. 106 aggregate tweet. 187–188 voicing support for social causes/ charities. 133 •A• abbreviation. 98 Arrow icon. 112. 210 actor. 133 Open Twitter. 13. 78–79. 71. 193 Adobe Air. 134 100TWT. 170 Android. 13. (ellipsis). 208 . 24 audience. 67–68 AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). 127. 188–189 sharing links. 44 _ (underscore character).. 45–46 artists. 163–165 use of Twitter. 19–21 Verified. 183 understanding of extended network. 137 avatar changing. 13 authentic tweet being genuine. 250 active research. 106 account age requirement. Lance. 211 Amber Alert. 249 conversion tracking. identifying with diversifying your network. 205 address. 34 Amazon Fail incident. 171 answer. 256–257 signing up for. 181–182 accurate information validation. 267 auto-tweet. Ryan. 101 aggregator. 190–191 author. 204–206 at sign (@). 15. 106 co-authored. 206 Adams. 135 security. 152 advanced searching.. 186 joining the conversation. 207 Armstrong. 249 American Idol. 24 .
Jesse. 197 importance of listening. 212–213 favorites use. 207–209 company updates. Micah. 155–157. 204–206 building company relationships. 212 problems. 269 Branson. 35–36 breaking news. 195 importance of engagement. 206–207 conducting research. See also favorites bot. 2nd Edition •B• back channel. 35 profile page. 164–165 BoinBlog. mixing business with pleasure. 131 BLVDStatus. 197 customer service. 197 incentives. 200–201 dashboard. 199 journalism. 188 BlackBerry mobile clients for. 258 Blackbird. 170 Backupify. 96 in food. 210 confidential information of.fm. 205. 36 pre-made. 37 bit. 204–206 Bearden. 37 free images for. 199 logo. 35–36 template. 95 impacts on Twitter. 179–180 Baldwin. 170 badge. 37 book. 213–214 large. 81 bands. 31 Business Week. 202 personal to business tweet ratio.274 Twitter For Dummies. 198 knowledge-sharing. 229 Buck. 229. 135 Blogline. 51 Brightkite. 36 tiled image in. drink. 197 PR practitioners. 51 in finance and budgeting. admitting to. 134. 213 connections. 154. 267 bookmark. 261 Brightidea. 155 Bush. 68–69. 135–136 balance. 268 background customizing. 266 BreakingNews feed. 211–212 backup. 36 logo as. 257 Bing. 37 text. 178 community-building. 198 businesses advancement through Twitter. 238 BudURL. 132 Blogger. and nightlife. 179–181 networking by. 10. James Karl. 213 proactive. 127 TwitterBerry. 16. Richard. 36 managing presence on Twitter. 177 listening to feedback. 57–58 biography. 264 blog post. 94–97 caution of following company regulations of what to share. 177 mixing with personal interest. 195–196 band and artist promotion. 263 . 152 Twitter applications for. George W. 234 business card. 50–52. 224 beta testing.ly. 69–70 as way of using Twitter. 257 employee use of Twitter.. 198 presentation. 127 blank slate. 23 Blip.
193 sending direct message by. 248 lost children alert. 212 record keeping. 190 button Create My Account. 21 Find Friends. 196 use of Twitter. 39–40 setting up to receive tweet. 251 Byrne. 196 Twitter profile page. 232–233 children. 95 separate Twitter accounts for. 177 social capital. 27 Next Step. 161 CNN. 27 Find on Twitter. 23 Cashmore. 246–247 social change initiative. 266 Coldplay. 13 voicing support for. 98 client desktop. 196–197 Java-enabled. 68–69 275 ceTwit. 223 use of Twitter. 245–251 tools for. 176 using Twitter to make business look good.. 99 use of Twitter. 22 Sign Up Now. 213 Twitter Bio section. 36 promotion and product offering. 203–204 public relations. 98 color. 251 The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual. 201 Cloudlet.Index profile page. 249 engaging in. 14 usernames for. 96 in retailing. 101. 151–154 cellphone associating with Twitter. 98–99 Cleese. 147–150 mobile. 245–246 Hudson River emergency plane landing. 21. David. 20 charity: water. John. use of Twitter. 177 small. 194 celebrity following on Twitter. 30 Follow All. 266 church. 13. 89 setting tweet quiet time. 96 reaching out. 232–233 as Twitter-based event. 36 Color Wars. 233 cautions. John A. 198 •C• Cameron. 268 social change initiative. 97 CAPTCHA code. 249 mainstream media. 126–127 signing up for Twitter on. 249 China earthquake. 98 impersonator. 153 number. 25. Pete. 153 charities microdonation. 90. 62–64. caution of posting on Twitter. 250 Amber Alerts. 96 trend toward transparency. 171 resort and hotel. 22 turning tweet notifications on/off. 178 in tourism and travel. 246. 159–160 . 211–212 tweetup. lost children alert. 38–40 as citizen journalism tool. 13 citizen journalism accurate information validation. 198–199 in publishing. 40 as way of using Twitter.
searching by. 257 CoTweet. 269 length constraint. 269 Diddy. 238–239. 48–50 @replies compared to. 49–50 . 87 community efforts. computer. 150 as way to use Twitter. 189. 257 data-sharing. 206–207 computer crash. 48 sending by cellphone. James. 200–201 •D• Dalai Lama. 41. 98 DanceJam. 234 DIAF (Die in a Fire). 90 conversation. 88 compared to @replies. 148–150 searching for. 18. See DM Direct Message page. 27 importing. joining. Ellen. 245 deleting tweet. 216 contest. 170 confidential information. 202 DM (direct message) accidental sending as tweet. 89 sending using Direct Message interface. 49–50 directory. 65 Comcast Cares account.276 Twitter For Dummies. 26–27 importing from e-mail account. Todd. 86 conversion tracking. 88 private notes via. 204 dashboard. 99–100 DISQUS. 95 comedian. 147–148 list of apps. 106 Defren. 227 customer service. 262 Dell computer. 26–29 finding by geographic location. 213 connecting. business. 200 customer query. 52. 209 use of Twitter. 2nd Edition Comcast community-building. 250 company. See businesses company update. 217–219 finding. 48 defined. 58 Delicious bookmarking service. 238 date. 95. P. 257 Cox. 267 Digsby. 95 using Twitter as strategy to customer service. 14. 112.TV. See also friends connecting with people. 207–209 companion blog.. 21 Creative Commons. 29–31. 12 contacts. 78 inviting. 220–224 meeting in public. 206 commentary. 142 deceptive activity. 28 Degeneres. business. 101 crash. 50 alternative to. 243 Current. 150–151 direct message. 170 Create My Account button. 205 creative purpose organization. 79–80 making new friend. 13 community leads. 48 compared to tweet. 165 corporate tweeting. as use of Twitter. 81 community-building. 200 desktop client about.
55 picking people from address book. 31 third-party clients for Twitter. 268 EventBrite. accessing by using Twitter. 27 followers artificially increasing numbers of. 262–263 experts. turning on. 250 Fail Whale. 217 encouraging more. Nicholas.Index setting up to be sent to e-mail box. 128–130 employee use of Twitter. 193 Find Friends button. 11. 119 uses for. 87. 251 Follow All button. 88–89. 55 when to use. 30 Find People link (Home screen). 269 Fallon. 268 Eliason. 92 feature changes.). 236. 269 •E• early adopter. 243–245. 128–129 importing contacts from. 228 explicit language. 199 FeedDemon. 17–18 downtime. 266 eBay. 44 e-mail direct message sent to. 219 dweet. 105–107 event planning. 236 finance and budgeting businesses. Frank. 269 earthquake. 79–80 signature line. 98 favorites bookmarking tweet as. 26–29 Firefox browser. 218–219. 78 inviting people through. 266 financial status.. 42 finding contacts. 245 Everyone timeline. 259 EverNote tool. 118 User Does Not Follow You error message. 95 ellipsis (. 67 Ebel. 259 fact checker. 268 education.. Jimmy. 13 etiquette. 168 gaming. 96. 64–65 feedback. 212–213 enthusiast. 14. 51 marking tweet as. 171 FEMA. 89 277 •F• Facebook. 51 viewing favorites of others. 82 . 136. 67. 52–53 ExecTweets. 55 finding your. 84. 156. 228. 156 Facebook Event. 247. 89–90 figuring out who’s following you. 129–130 using Twitter through. 2 feed. 79–80 notifications. caution of posting on Twitter. 217 how to find. 27 Find on Twitter button. 233 donation. 13 Dorsey. See update stream feed reader. 50–51 shorthand code for sending. 259. 66 Flickr. Matthew. 128–129 shorthand for sending. 110. 251 Flip video camera. 112 business use. 131 Feltron. Jack. 51 domestic abuse. 106 extroverted and introverted people.
75–82. 159 freelancer. 77 searching specific tweet. 231–235 Gmail. 223. 101 Harrison. See also contacts making new. 169–170 finding users by location. 199. 233 Harvard Business and Law School. 163–165 Google Buzz. 18. 163 Google finding people to follow. 268 hashtag defined. 217 genuine. 31 seeing who you follow. 97. 83 Google Alert. 57–58 FollowFriday. 168–169 using Hover feature. 201 health details. 267 FourSquare. 170 FollowFriday. 202 FreshBooks. Ze. 89. 258–259 friends. 89–90 notification when lost. 222–224 FTL (For the Loss). 81. 269 fundraising. 240. 81 following people cautions of following new people. See also charities FWIW (For What It’s Worth). 181–186 importing contacts from e-mail account. 16 Gustav hurricane. 187 by networking. 118–119 targeting specific networks. 132 tips for creating. See username harassment. 147 food businesses. 249 . 204 Gimp image editor. 2nd Edition identifying your audience. Imogen. 234 Greeley. 145. 90 global change initiative. 83 identifying with audience. 183 tools for. 54–55 shorthand for sending. 55. Matthew. 220–224 searching for topics of interest with. 134. 145 results of search for. 225–226 finding people to follow. 221–222 through tweetup. 81 how to follow. MC. 112. 269 FTW (For the Win). 78 joining the conversation. 193 Heap. 131 Gore. 260 FriendFeed. 67 games. 106 Harpers. 135 Frank. 209 Get command. 28 creating your own criteria for. 55 viewing your network. 190. 13. 121 GiftGirl. Al. 217 User Does Not Follow You error message. 236 •H• Hammer. 95. 76 deciding to follow. 204–205 handle. being. 244 pros and cons. Scott. 270 Haslam. 159–161 gaming followers. Doug. 171 patience in building network of. 270 event planning.278 Twitter For Dummies. 115–116. 37 giveaway. 157 Google Reader. 136 Help Find My Child organization. 77–78 by searching for them. 168–169. 156 FriendorFollow. 181–182 •G• gadget. 168–169 searching for people. caution of posting on Twitter. 64. 145–146 retweet. 209 HelloTxt. 181–185 listening to. 64.
227 presence on Twitter. 229–230 instant messaging. 51 hexadecimal color code. 191. 42 illustrated. 41 Profile link. 64 Ike hurricane. John. 66 introverted and extroverted people. 153 JetBlue customer flight information. 270 IMO (In My Opinion). 175–177 iGoogle. 236 IMHO (In My Humble Opinion). 42 helpfulness social change initiative. determining your. 79–80 involved. 68–69 honesty. 243 Hudson River emergency plane landing. 127 as way of using Twitter. business. 122 inviting contacts. 238 journalism by citizens. 29–31. 209 HootSuite. 236 Iranian election. Ari. 235 iReport initiative. 18 hot topic.Index Help link (Home screen). 198 •K• Kanter. 203–204 •I• identity. 44 incentive. 42 Home link. Hugh. 152 iPhone mobile clients for. 78 keyword tracking. 41 Find People link. 90 iPad. 199 indexing tweet. 43–44 Sign Out link. 18 Twitter applications for. 10 IntenseDebate. 61–62 Internet Explorer. 127 official iPhone Twitter client. being. 270 impersonator. 11 Hodgman. 14 promotion and product offering. 42 Help link. 248. 144 . 198. 42 sidebar. 42 Settings link. 42 “What’s Happening?” box. 152 mobile Twitter site for. 94. 266 The Huffington Post. 199 279 Herzog. 245–251 public relations. 92 Invite command. 246–247 iTunes App Store. 52 information-sharing. 96 Hover feature. 36 history of Twitter. being. Tony. 228 Java-enabled cellphone. See Trending Topics hotel and resort business. Beth. 233 hurricane. 12 Home screen about. 26–27 impromptu tweetup. 202 interesting. 240 keyword searching. 68 •J• Jackman. 237–238 Twitter-based public relations. 83 Hsieh. 99 importing contacts. 203 HubSpot. 90 interface. 233.
80 creating. 218 Lindzon. 167 social media presence tools. 36 Verified.280 Twitter For Dummies. Mike. 267 Mayer. 113–114 assigning people to. John. 106 language-specific account. 270 Microsoft PowerPoint. 90 monitoring service for. 43 following/unfollowing. 270 microdonation. 9 McCaskill. 2nd Edition knowledge-sharing in business. Claire. Rick (The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual). 262 language explicit. Howard. 114 . 229–230 private. 233 mash-up. 113 viewing who has listed you. 136 links inserting into tweet. 246. Ashton. 213–214 caution. 13. 205. 199 LinkedIn. 243 Langford. 101 Mashable. 112–115 defined. 101 meeting people in public. 233. 183–185 media. 187–188 shortened. 160–161 mentions. Christopher (The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual). 90 measuring your reach. 37 listening for businesses. 114–116 Locke. 142 •L• Lady Gaga. 210. 197 to feedback. 201 logo as background. 98. 43. 203. 162–167 lists adding users to. 132 Link Bunch. 261 link blog. 113 themed. 248 Kutcher. 266 LocalTweeps. 11. 209. 268 microgiving. 218 •M• Marvel Entertainment. 205. 233 microsharing. 90. use of Twitter. 80–81 Krums. 98. 98 landing page. 171 Mathews. 46–47 metrics. 205. 230 giving up control. 121 Levine. 107 location-based tweet. Andrew. 270 microblogging. 201 Lifting the Dreamer (Lu). 170 location finding users by. 113 public. 199 importance of. Janis. Dave. 11. 58–59 as way of finding people to follow. 170 searching by. 109–111 Lost. 263 link spam. 216 meme. 267 McAfee. 109–111 sharing. 94 Leave command. 132 Twitter-speak words. 208 Lu. Yiying (Lifting the Dreamer).
133–135 Obama. 238–245 in real life. 238–245 Ono. 170 online organization. 110. 151 clients for. 170 multimedia sharing. Shaquille. 236–237 NetNewsWire. 139–140. 240–241 use of Twitter. 126 281 monitoring service. 66 Mr. 185–186 as way to use Twitter. 215–216 targeting specific networks. 4–5 online. 239 Obvious Corp. 2. 133–135 Open Twitter API. 270 O’Neal. 270 Notices screen. 119 On/Off username command. 101 nudge (shorthand code). 120 •O• OAuth (Open Authentication). 182 freelancer. 11 Odeo Web company. 208 in businesses. 9. 246. 202 diversifying your network. 243–245 food and spirit enthusiast. Melanie. 156 •N• name. 101. 228 On/Off command. 11 OH (overhead). See also cellphone about. 152–154 as way of using Twitter. Samantha. 243 event planning. 71. 267–268 Newsweek. 210 password security. 260 Mumbai terrorist attack. 71 OpenBeak. Demi. 26 Twitter account. 246 Morin. 68. 13 MySpace. See username natural disaster. Tweet. 126. 13. 98. 135–136. 238–239. 101. 181–182 measuring influence.Index mistweet. 125. 3. Dave. 82 Notkin. 233 motivation. 13. 161 new features. 101 The New York Times. 168–169 building-community versus. 202 identifying your audience. 21 . 238–245 small scale. 214 100TWT. 204 NPR. company. 265 Overheard meme. 266 Murphy. 22 noise river. 270 mobile device. Barack. 183 understanding of extended network. 121–122 Open Authentication (OAuth). 268 musician promoting bands and artists. 234–235. 240 how this book is organized. 134. 249. 9 Next Step button. 157 news story. 97. 266 The New Yorker. 183–185 support system. 167 Moore. 224 OneForty company. 101 News Feed function. Yoko. 131 networking about. 152 organization for creative purpose. 2–3 Mozilla Firefox Web browser. 131 •P• passive data. 67. 127. 98. 204–206 use of Twitter. 229 Newsgator.
136 Pipes. 226–227 fact checker. 34 photo-sharing service. 192–193 Twitter presence considerations. 135 personal use of Twitter being yourself. 14. 198 preacher. 34 color. 203–204 Profile link (Home screen). 127. See also DM private tweet. 193 mixing with business interest. 142 PostSecret Web site. admitting to. 84 permalink URL. 258 podcasting. See profile page public relations. 260 .282 Twitter For Dummies. 228 asking good. 132. 178 protecting personal details. 178 username for. 90. 52–53 publishing company. 157 plug-in. 37 PR practitioner. 96 pornography. 106 positive/negative tweet. 33 uploading. 36. business. 42 profile page background. 246 privacy. 32–37 expanding by using background images. 13 •Q• Qik channel. 2nd Edition PDA mobile clients for. 180–181 maximizing privacy and safety. 228 Quicken. 36 customizing. 37 Picasa. See contacts People Search function. 113 private messaging. 201 Plaxo. 216 public page. 188–189 biography. 35–36 being authentic. 37 personal considerations. 97 promotion and product offering. 251 Photoshop program. 66–67 PocketTwit client. 37 business. 198–199 Public Timeline. 251 question accessing the experts. 193 private list. 77 Pepsi. 64 Ping. 176 pre-made background. searching by. 153. 71. 127 people. 178 proactivity. 212 problems. 132 Pistachio Consulting. 203–204 public list. 235. 101 PowerPoint (Microsoft). 24–25. use of Twitter. personal use of Twitter. 97. 153 Twitter Web applications for. 56 tweet history. 11 politics social change initiative. 113 public meeting. 112 photo editing for avatar. 35 presentation. 234–235 use of Twitter. 179–181 private tweet consideration. 211–212 product and promotion offering. 239 print media. 235. revoking. 213 presidential election. 33 searching specific tweet. 48–50. 52 permission. 196 changing avatar. 208 permalink.
tweet. 186 RPM Challenge. 98 school. 96 restaurant. 47 illustration. 125 @replies feature about. 102 Schwarzenegger. 3 real world. 65 sending back to Twitter. 3 search engine optimization (SEO). 171 screenshot. 131–132 sending items to Twitter as individual tweet. 250 crediting yourself for. 132 Sanchez. 232 Rose. 270–271 etiquette. Chris. 87 Retweet feature. Kevin. 171 RentWiki. 130 as way of using Twitter. 86 a link. 48 links associated with. 43 . 66 using to pull in Twitter stream. 101 river. 210 resort and hotel business. 64–65 RT. 243 RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed access. 131 defined. See update stream Rose. 131 @replies. 85 joining conversation. 87 283 •R• Radian6. 241 retail business. 48 displaying/not displaying. 122 Qwitter. 16 viewing all. 171 how to. 223. conducting. 169. 65 shorthand code for sending. about this book. 270 direct message compared to. moving from Twitter into. 86 defined. 16. Amanda. Arnold. 86 old-fashioned way of. Sara. 101 Sareilles. 47 defined. 116–117 subscribing to. See retweeting •S• Sacca. 46–47 compared with direct message. 97 scrapbooking. 223 Safari. 119 Twitter and Facebook comparison. compared with @replies. 47 research. 116–117 dedicated application of Web site to handle. 229 record keeping. 48 compared with Reply icon. 24–25 Search text box. 85 RSS feed. 39–40 Quit and Stop command. 163–164 readability. 41. 193 Reply arrow. 130 grabbing. 268 Schwartz. 84 Reply icon. 95 retweeting (RT) about. 45 commentary on. See RSS feed recommendation. 216 through personal use of Twitter. 13. 87 crediting original poster. Jason. Rick. 87 hashtag. 206–207 Really Simple Syndication. 66 safety meeting people in public. 47 Rick Sanchez Direct.Index quiet time.
190 social change initiatives charity event. 18. 112. 21 small scale organizing. 112 sharing data. 133 sidebar. 12 SMS (Short Message Service). 122–123 Whois command. 232–233 citizen journalism. 42 Shake Shack. 203 social cause. 122 @ . 127. 150 following people by. 24–25 Settings link (Home screen). 121–122 Quit and Stop command. 38. 229–230 links. 119 following people. 236 global change initiative. 10.284 Twitter For Dummies. 31 signing up for Twitter from cellphone. 43–44 Sign Out link (Home screen). 233. 245–252 data-sharing. 178. 137 SocialThing. See also Twitter Search advanced. 119 stats. 38. 231–238 helping others. 101 security API (application programming interface). 120–121 viewing code list online. 256–257 Seesmic Mobile. 237–238 natural disaster. 133 password. 157 . 135 Twitter as. 102 Shareaholic tool. 148. 37 SecretTweet. 77 keyword. 10 social object theory. 78–79 for desktop client. 135–136 defined. 153 Seesmic. 187–188 multimedia. 119 On/Off username command. 19–22 Create My Account button. 78 for people to follow. 10. 233 Social Media for Social Change. 28 Short Message Service (SMS). 2nd Edition searching. 221 SocialMedian. Doc (The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual). 236–237 politics. 221–222 users to add to lists. 118 favorites. e-mail.reply. 233 social network adding tweet to. 238 FEMA. 121 Invite command. Twitter screens. 240 SHIFT Communications. 42 Sign Up Now button. 257–258 Twitter Web applications for. 113 On/Off command. 122–123 for specific tweet. 240–241 smartphone clients. See also text messaging shorthand code caution of using. 122 Leave command. 20 signature line. 26 third-party application. 118–119 Get command. 153 SEO (search engine optimization). See also text messaging social capital. 118 direct message. 238 information. 223. 260 as use of Twitter. 56–58 topics of interest. 120 Social Media for Nonprofits. 127 Windows Mobile-based. 77–78 shorthand code list. 234–235 The Sharing Foundation. 22 from computer. 135–136 badge code. 201 Seashort image editor. 21 Terms of Service. 31 Google search engine. 157 SocialOomph. 121 nudge. 121 Searls.
Index Southwest Air. 207. 82. 37 Terms of Service. 271 Spears. 159 as good resource for global events. 228 . Twitter as. 144 adjusting scope. 99. surrounding yourself with. 91 syndicated material. 120–121 Stewart. 133 security concerns. 261–262 Stone. 62–64 285 themed lists. 126 as way of using Twitter. 45 Starbucks. 122 stream. 127. 21. 267 teacher. 139 technological growing pains. 113 third-party applications about. 221–222 Topify. 126–127 turning tweet notifications on/off. 183 StockTwits. update. 158–159 keeping up. 11. 38–40 compared with tweeting. Gradon. profile page background. 39–40 setting up to receive tweet. 96 transparency. 14 stats. 9 timeline. 233 troll. 158–159 pros and cons. 29. person by person. 57 Tripp. Martha. 11. 19–20 Spokeo. 10 controlling message-flow. 267 splash page. 219 template. 159 tag word. 215–216 SXSWi (South by Southwest Interactive Festival). 22 unlimited plan. 157 Star icon. 158–159 TalkShoe voice post. 65 •T• tag cloud. 129–130 tornado. 235 Taste Live. 211–212 Trash Can / Delete icon. See update stream student. 266 South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSWi). 205 Summize. 97 tourism and travel business. 268 successful people. 233 technological change. 155 topics of interest. 106 text messaging adjusting settings. 45. 17–18. 266 Trending Topics about. 100–101 selecting notifications. 43. 91 spam. 39–40 mobile phone setup. 40 Twitter sign up. 106. Biz. 132–133 current favorites. Britney. See update stream timestamp. 92. 44 TinyTwitter. 11. 161 tag word. 159 how to use. 62–63 receiving tweets. 233 Stop and Quit command. 13. 242. 236 TouchBase blog. 159 defined. 63. 28. 133 social-media service compatibility. 191 trust-building. 134 as way to use Twitter. 96 as way to use Twitter. See also Twitter Search support system. 268 TechCrunch. 43 geolocation feature. 90. 158–159 tracking trends. 153 TinyURL. 58 travel and tourism business. 199. 40 setting tweet quiet time. 39 Time magazine.
262 tweep. 258 Twellowhood. 37 TwitDroid. 48 erasing your tracks. 127 Twittelator Pro. 272 Facebook compared to. 256 Twitter squatter. 143–144. 68 Twistory. 232 Twhirl. 131 Twitter For Dummies Web site. 12–13 instant messaging compared with. 271 impromptu. 109–111 location-based. 68 Twitter Fan Wiki. 78–79 finding people to follow. 142 searching by user. 140–142 fast search. 223. 142 searching by word. 29 advanced search. 68. 107. 271 Tweetake. 11 individual use. 107. 56–58 Twidroid. 18. 77 as listening tool. 58 direct message compared to. 182 tweetup defined. 135–136 aggregate. 114–115 marking as favorite. 2 Twitter Karma. 127 Tweetree. See lists Twitter Search. 18 reasons for using. 223. 165–167 results page. 146 Tweecious. 161 TwitStory. See also searching about. 255–256 TweetGrid. 142 searching by location or distance. 134 Twestival. 272 . 169. 17. 12–13 uses for. 1. 65–66. 31–32 indexing. 251. 154 Twitter feed. 170 12Seconds. 142 searching by positive/negative tweet. 271 deleting. 65. viewing. 133–134. 50–51 private. 186–191 auto. 133. 71 Twitter business use. 271 tweet adding to social network. 71. 127 TwitScoop. 272 Twitroid. 116 famous. 271 Twinkle application. 71. 16 history of. 10 organization use. 178 quiet time. 229. 10 defined. 235. 108–109 getting started. 141–142 Tweetworks. 13 origin of name. 18. 101 authentic. 258 TwitGrid. 222–224 Twitter Development portal. 29 accessing. 18. 184. 256 Tweetie 2. 132 character limit. 160 Twittelator. 44 frequency of posts. 28.286 Twitter For Dummies. 39–40 searching specific. 159 Tweetie. 168–169 Twitter Lists. 153 twinfluence. 1 tweetaholic. 271 tweeple. 137 automatic translation. 238 making new friends through. 111 TweetStats. 158. 264 TweetScan. 2nd Edition TwapperKeeper. 262 Twellow. 56–57 searching by date. 52 links in. 170 TweetDeck. 213. 14 defined. 147–149. 263 TwitPic. 260. 112 TwitBacks.
10. 271 Twitterific. 152 TwitterCounter. 171. 127 Twobile. 176 case-sensitivity. 52 update stream defined. 25 for personal use. 44 •W• Walken. 177 e-mail address related. 129 twitterer. 127. 109 . 76 Twittervision. 223. 134. 171 TwitToday. 45 permalink. 43 URL shortener about. 155 defined. 40 voice post. 236 Web site. 92 underscore character (_). 110–111. 24 unique resource locator (URL). 243 Webmail software. 127. 170. 229. 25. 24–25 searching by. 148 The View. 127 TwitterFox. 171 TwitterLocal tool. putting Twitter on. 34 up-to-date information. 259–260 TwitterFon application. 129 uploading photo. 69–70. 235 username for businesses. 10. 12. 66 TwitterGrader. 149 TwitterKarma. 259 Tyson Foods. National Republication Congressional Committee. 169 weather events. 242.S. 36 Twitterrific. 133 twitterverse. 94 video. 272 Twitter Taste Live. 153 TwtVite. 240 •U• unconventional twitterer. 24 SEO (search engine optimization). 154–155 added services. 93–94 Verified Logo. 21 use of real name versus nickname. 52 U. 245 VIP notifications. 1 flow of. Christopher. 236 volunteer. 28. 68 Webisodics. 142 selection considerations. 243 URL. 25 Twitter account. 267 Twitterati. 251 video-chat. 272 TwitterBerry.S. 24 changing. 25 nickname as. 65. 97 U. 27. 127 Twitula. 247.S. 55 TwitterLess. presidential election. 184. 106 We Follow. 24 length consideration. 192–193 287 Utterli. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 68. 71. 170 Twittermail. 235 •V• Verified Account. 129–130 TwitterPatterns.Index Twitter stream. 44 timestamp. 97 U. 264 twitterholic. 68. 235 volcano. 272 Twitterville. 92 Twitterfeed. 176 picking.
203 use of Twitter. 31. 235 •Z• Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. 135 •X• XMPP feed. 15. Oprah. 245 WeFollow user list. 98 White House. 90. 118 Wilson. Evan. 10. 131 Winfrey. 236 Williams. 67. Wil. 101 word. 206 YouTube. 205 “What are you doing?” question. 260 yourself. 245 Wired News. Rainn. 142 Wordle. Natasha. 260 •Y• YFrog. 165 wildfire. 241–242. 94. 14. 201 Welch. 205. 2nd Edition WebNotes tool. 203 community-building. 15 “What’s Happening?” box. 121 widget. 127 Windows Mobile-based smartphone. Dave. 156. being. 97 Whois command. Jack.288 Twitter For Dummies. 98 Windows mobile phone. 205. searching by. 100 Weinberger. 263 Wescoat. 71. 67. David (The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual). 209 promotion and product offering. 161–162 WordPress. 170 Xpenser. 98. 201 . 44 Wheaton. 267 Winer. 153 wine and spirits enthusiast. 11.
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